Ashley Highfield: No plans for more weekly switches

There are no plans to convert any other Johnston Press dailies into weekly papers in the ‘foreseeable future”, according to the company’s chief executive Ashley Highfield.

The assurance comes two days after the managing director of the company’s North West papers assured readers there were no current plans to turn the Blackpool Gazette, Lancashire Evening Post or Wigan Evening Post into weeklies.

The company said today that its plans to relaunch 170 of its paid-for titles – excluding only The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday, The Yorkshire Post and The News Letter – did not involve converting any other daily newspapers into weeklies.

Earlier this week Highfield announced that the Halifax Courier, Northampton Chronicle & Echo, Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph, Peterborough Evening Telegraph and Scarborough Evening News were among 15 titles in the first phase of the relaunch and would become weekly publications from this month.

It expects editorial job losses on each of the five titles to remain in single figures. Press Gazette understands form well-placed sources that this includes nine in Halifax, six in Scarborough, up to 10 in Kettering and 7 in Northampton.

‘These publications have a long and proud tradition of serving their local communities and the relaunch plans provided the opportunity to review the needs of each market to ensure this success continues,’said Highfield.

‘Combining a weekly newspaper with daily online publishing meets changing demands and allows each of these five titles to maintain their roles as trusted platforms for audiences to access and share information.”

Johnston said it had employed a ‘leading international design company’to provide the new weekly designs and that the relaunches would be supported by a ‘professionally directed local marketing campaign”.

He added: ‘We are continually reviewing our position and responding to changing audience demands, and while we can never say never, we have no plans for any more ‘daily to weekly’ changes.

‘The relaunch is about combining fresh designs, improved editorial practices and the best in digital technology to make our news more current and enable greater engagement with both our readers and advertisers.”

  • To contact the Press Gazette newsdesk call 020 7936 6433 or email pged@pressgazette.co.uk

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