Johnston Press exec: 'We didn't invest enough in journalism'

Michael Johnston, Scotland divisional managing director at Johnston Press, admitted to a committee of MSPs that his company had not invested enough in journalism.

Following a six-month investigation, members of Holyrood’s Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture Committee issued a report last week concluding that local newspaper companies in Scotland need to pay more to frontline journalists.

The report highlighted concerns that local newspaper companies in Scotland were not paying frontline journalists enough to sustain the industry and said that the disparity between the pay of reporters and managers was too great.

Incldued in the report is details of the evidence given to the committee by Johnston in which he told SMPs:

“We [Johnston Press] possibly did not invest enough in journalism.”

Johnston also said his company had ‘made a number of ill-advised acquisitions. As an operational manager, I regret that, because it has had a huge impact on the business”.

“We possibly did not invest enough in journalism. Looking at the here and now, and moving forward, I want to ensure that the businesses that I am responsible for are sustainable and can continue to function in a viable way.

“Journalism is fundamental to what we do. I recognise journalism as being not only a significant cost but a significant attribute of our business.”

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