Johnston Press has shed half of its journalists since 2009 with more than 1,000 jobs gone

  • Johnston Press editorial staff headcount has halved since 2009
  • Latest cuts likely to bring editorial and photographic staff number down to around 1,000 – from 2,222
  • Production staff number dropped from 1,029 in 2009 to 355 in 2014
  • Long-serving journalist: 'JP is making clear that it is not interested in journalism'

The latest proposed job cuts at Johnston Press will mean the company’s editorial headcount has more than halved since 2009, according to Press Gazette research.

Staff were warned of impending cuts on Friday last week. And today it emerged that 32 jobs are at risk in Scotland, 13 in Northern Ireland and up to 18 across the north of  England.

According to the company’s accounts, in 2009 it employed 2,222 editorial and photographic staff and 1,029 production staff. In 2014, Johnston Press had 1,133 editorial and photographic staff, and 355 people in production.

These numbers are likely to have fallen further in 2015 and, with the latest cuts, the editorial and photographic count is likely to be around 1,000.

Not all of the job losses are the result of redundancies.

Despite the reduction in editorial numbers, Johnston Press claims its total audience has grown from 18.3m to 27.3m over this period. This is largely thanks to online growth, with its total average monthly unique user number growing from 6.9m to 16.7m.

In 2009, Johnston Press ran 271 publications – 18 daily newspapers, 156 weeklies and 97 free weeklies – compared with 254 in 2014, made up of 13 dailies, 193 paid-for weeklies, 38 free titles and ten lifestyle magazines. This number has now decreased further, with at least 18 newspapers axed last year.

The reduction in print titles is also explained in part by the sale of 14 newspapers in the Republic of Ireland in 2014.

A long-serving Johnston Press journalist, reacting to the latest cuts, told Press Gazette: “After a year of further cuts and multi-million pound bonuses for executives, this is like a dagger to the heart for JP journalists.

“The company has money, but chooses to lavish it on executives rather than invest in journalism. By its actions, JP is making clear that it is not interested in journalism."

Johnston Press declined to comment on the 2009-2014 comparison figures. But on the latest cuts, a spokesperson said: "The figures quoted by the NUJ are worst case scenario and we will only know the outcome after the consultation period. No decisions have been made on vacant roles in Portsmouth." 

Picture: Shutterstock

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