PA acquires 50 per cent of journalism training centre - Press Gazette

PA acquires 50 per cent of journalism training centre

Sands: remains managing director

The Press Association has struck a deal to acquire The Editorial Centre journalism training business in Hastings run by former Northern Echo editor Peter Sands.

Sands bought the training centre in 1995 from Westminster Press and will stay on as managing director. PA has taken an initial 50 percent stake in the business and has an option to acquire the remaining shares at a future date.

Financial details of the deal are undisclosed.

The Editorial Centre will continue to operate from Hastings but will also have new training centres based at PA offices in London and Howden, East Yorkshire.

Sands told Press Gazette: “We were going along quite happily when we were approached by the Press Association. We’ve been very, very busy and we saw it as a way of developing and expanding the business.”

The new training centres in London and Howden will be open to all journalists and trainees, not just those working for PA. Sands said his training operation will reap the benefits of PA’s resources, contacts and expertise. It also means The Editorial Centre can offer its services away from its southern base.

PA and The Editorial Centre have already worked together on the news agency’s joint subbing diploma scheme with the Daily Mail. The scheme reunited Sands with PA’s editorial consultant Pat Pilton, with whom he had worked at the Mirror Group’s Academy of Excellence. This summer they will be running subediting diplomas for the Mail and The Daily Telegraph.

The centre’s pre-entry scheme trains journalists for The Times, the Daily Telegraph, Archant, Bristol United Press, The Kent Messenger Group and Yattendon’s newspapers, among others.

It also offers training for seniors, runs newspaper conferences, publishes newsletters and has a design consultancy that has redesigned more than 50 titles.

Hastings graduates include former Sun editor David Yelland; Andy Coulson, editor of the News of the World; Sharon Hendry, editor of Sun Woman; John Sage, Teletext editor-in-chief; Graham Lovelace, managing director of Lovelacemedia, now part of PA; and many regional newspaper editors.

Paul Potts, PA chief executive and editor-in-chief, said: “In recent years PA has played an important role in developing editorial talent for the industry through our successful inhouse training programme and joint schemes with customers. Through this investment in The Editorial Centre we are delighted to be able to reinforce our commitment to training and extend our range of services.”

This month PA also announced it had bought Empics, the sports photo agency founded in 1985 by Phil O’Brien.

By Jon Slattery