Archant CEO leaves, 170 jobs go and printing to be done elsewhere

“The chief executive of one of Britain’s largest regional newspaper groups is to leave and 90 jobs are to go as the publisher stops printing its own titles after more than 170 years.

Norwich-based Archant, whose publications include Ham & High in London and the anti-Brexit New European, is to announce that Jeff Henry is to stand down after running the business for the last five years. The group’s chairman Simon Bax, a former top executive at Pixar who sits on the board of Channel 4, will take the role of executive chairman.

The company, which was co-founded in 1845 by mustard magnates the Colman family, has also decided to close its printing operation at Thorpe, just outside of Norwich, with the loss of about 90 jobs.

The closure of the site, which prints Archant’s four daily newspapers and virtually all of its 50 weekly ones, brings an end to the company printing titles locally.

It is understood that the printing of its newspapers is to be outsourced to News UK, publisher of the Sun and the Times. The combination of cost savings and commercial revenue from the seven-year deal makes the outsourcing move worth millions annually to Archant.

Since joining in 2014, Henry, a former senior ITV executive, has battled to replace the inexorable decline in sales and ad revenue from print with income from digital sources as well as events and exhibitions.

However, like its peers, Archant has struggled. Total revenues have fallen almost 30% in the last four years, from £122m in 2014 to £87.2m last year. Digital revenues are thought to be about £15m annually.

The strain local newspaper proprietors are facing can be seen in the sales decline of Archant’s flagship title, the 149-year old Eastern Daily Press. Sales in the UK’s biggest-selling morning regional newspaper have decreased by two-thirds since 2000, when its circulation stood at more than 75,000. Circulation has more than halved in the last decade to 25,600.

Last week, Archant announced a landmark three-year, multimillion pound deal with Google called Project Neon. This will focus on local digital news run by the publisher’s chief content officer, Matt Kelly.

The owners of Archant, which also publishes about 60 specialist and local magazine titles including London Bride and Pilot, have tentatively explored a potential sale of the business. Last year, talks were held with Newsquest, the UK’s second-biggest regional newspaper group, but they fizzled out.

The business is also a potential takeover target, or partner, for David Montgomery’s new publicly listed National World venture. The former Mirror group chief has assembled a team of executives – including Vijay Vaghela, a former finance chief at Reach, formerly known as Trinity Mirror – to “buy and build” a regional newspaper group. Montgjomery is also eyeing a bid for JPI Media, which owns titles including the Scotsman, Yorkshire Post and the i, which is up for sale.

However, any potential buyer will have to deal with Archant’s pension deficit, which stands at about £30m. Archant sold its loss-making local TV station, Mustard TV, to That’s TV in 2017.”

Archant (Exmouth Journal) goes all hysterical again!

Really, Archant “journalists” need remedial training (a course on reporting rather than sensationalising)!

Their article on yesterday’s Global Climate Strike in Exeter is headed:

“Thousands storm County Hall as part of global strike action on climate change”

Were County Hall security staff trampled on?
Was the Leader’s chair ripped from the council chamber?
Was the city silver plate plundered?

No, something over 3,000 people, including many families with very young children, played in the parkland around County Hall, danced to a samba band and did no damage at all!

Shame on you Archant! Anyone might think you are climate change deniers putting out “fake news”!

Sidford Business Park – Sidmouth Herald ignores hard work of independent councillors

“East Devon District Council (EDDC) announced the news today (Tuesday) that the site would be a ‘detriment to highway safety’ due to the increase of HGV traffic it would bring to inadequate road.

Therefore the controversial plans will not go before its development management committee, as previously expected.

Last week, more than 100 people attended a campaign meeting objecting to the proposed plans for 8,445sqm of employment floor space at the Two Bridges site. …”

Disgracefully, the newspaper then allows two councillors who played very little part in public protest (and one of whom allowed the hasty decision to include it in the Local Plan) and no mention or comment from Independent Councillors (particularly East Devon Alliance councillor Marianne Rixon) who have been constantly doing all the hard work and (at least in this article) none of the recognition.

The mysterious case of the missing speeding Health Secretary video!


ITV’s short clip of Matt Hancock, Health Secretary’s ministerial blue-lighted car travelling at speed through Ottery Hospital’s car park, was deleted yesterday afternoon, less than 24 hours after it was posted.
Given that the video, which was in the process of going viral, must have dismayed both Mr Swire and Mr Hancock, my suspicions are directed firmly at these two.

I will be interested to hear from the two politicians whether they played a role in removing the embarrassing footage.

The tweet in question from political correspondent, Nick Smith, also confirmed that Mr Hancock’s black jaguar, using its security alert blue lights, appeared to be fleeing the apparently terrifying prospect of talking to me and around a dozen peaceable looking residents….

Here’s the video of the ministerial car speeding away after trying to shake us off…

For more detail see……/why_has_itv_deleted_the_film…

Taylor Wimpey, Archant, EDDC and red dust in Littleham, Exmouth : “fake news”?

Below is information from an Exmouth resident sent to an Archant local reporter regarding development at Littleham, Exmouth, the “red dust” it is creating and its effect on a large number of frustrated residents.

The resident has received no reply to either email and the newspaper has not balanced its original mild article to reflect the information in these emails:

11 August 2018:

Ms Brainwood [Archant reporter who wrote original article]:

Further to my email from last week I write to inform you of the following. It has been noted by the way that you did not pay me the courtesy of a reply.

Local residents are quite rightly annoyed that your article gave false impressions.

You reported the following :

1. The only residents to be affected were two elderly people in Buckingham Close.
2. The only area affected was indeed Buckingham Close.
3. Taylor Wimpey were doing everything they could to minimise the red dust site vehicles generated.
4. EDDC were happy that the red dust was “ within limits “.
5. Environmental Health Officers from EDDC were quite happy with the overall situation.

The real situation could not be further from the truth.

If you had asked local residents they would have informed you the red dust was experienced in Littleham Road, Midway, The Crescent, Jarvis Close, The Broadway, Douglas Road and Cranford Road just to name a few areas.

Local resident who I have spoken to agree your article is at best sloppy journalism and at worst, fake news.

I read on the Exmouth Journal website your Group Editor Philip Griffin tells us the paper is “ respected for it`s balanced reporting “. We all had a good laugh at that.

For you information the cycle path in Jarvis Close north of Plumb Park is being currently dug up by South West Water to lay pipes. The work will last for 5 weeks. More excessive noise, more disruption and even more dust just a couple of metres from residences in Littleham Road.

Finally, it is your prerogative not to reply to my emails, it is our prerogative not to purchase your paper. “

and the resident’s earlier email to which the resident also had no reply:

“2 August 2018

Subject: Red dust causes misery for residents near Plumb Park development

I would like to make you aware of a few facts regarding the current red dust problem that you reported on in the 1st August 2018 edition of the Exmouth Journal.

“ Taylor Wimpey have taken measures to reduce the impact “. This is not correct.

When I have contacted their Exeter call centre ( 01392 442617 ) they say dust suppression is taking place, but it is not. We are told a water bowser “ damp down” every day. As the site is visible from my bedroom window in Littleham Road, 30 meters from the north fence, I can inform you it never takes place. We are also told a street sweeper is used to suppress the dust. We have never seen the vehicle.

A resident who lives in Jarvis Close (his wife has a very serious case of COPD), confronted the Site Manger face to face recently and was told “damping down“ takes place in certain areas every 20 minutes. This is a lie.

I have contacted Environmental Health to complain about the red dust. I am not the only Littleham Road resident to have done this.

Alice Gill EHO did call back to inform me that Taylor Wimpy is taking action to reduce the dust. She is telling me what Taylor Wimpey is telling her. It is just not happening. Recent emails informing them again, that there is still a big problem have been ignored.

Food has to be covered to stop contamination from the dust in the kitchen. As windows are left open due to the warm weather we even have dust on tooth brushes in the bathroom. It has permeated into closed cupboards. Yes. It is inside the house!!!

In the meantime elderly resident who have COPD have to inhale red dust, along with everybody else, just because Taylor Wimpey can`t be bothered to do anything.

EDDC Development Management Committee was informed in June 2013 by many local residents that this development would blight the lives of local people. They were not interested.

Perhaps your readers would like to know a few facts regarding this issue, plus the current disinterest.”