Standard outsources some production to PA

The London Evening Standard has started to outsource subbing on a range of its commercially-led editorial pages and supplements to the Press Association.

The agreement sees PA supplying “page production services” to the capital’s daily paper for the first time, providing subbing and layout for a range of sections, including recruitment and entertainment.

The Standard reorganised subbing duties for some of its news and features teams in November as the paper dropped its midday News Extra edition and shifted working patterns.

Those changes led to the loss of a number of editorial and production jobs. Subeditors are bearing the brunt of those redundancies with about eight production staff expected to go.

Doug Wills, managing editor of the Standard, told Press Gazette his paper’s new arrangement with PA, which had been in place for a “couple of months”, was part of the recent editorial reorganisation and would not lead to further redundancies.

He said: “We have been working with PA for a number of years on different aspects of the paper, TV and weather pages for example, now they are also subbing some editorial commercial pages.”

The Standard took the decision to drop its 50p cover price and to go free in October – more than doubling its daily print run to around 600,000 copies.

Editor Geordie Greig told Press Gazette before Christmas that the economic model of the paper had been “totally transformed” by the decision to go free.

However, it has also been looking to strip cost from the business by dropping editions, making a number of job cuts and focusing distribution on key areas in Central London making it difficult to get hold of the paper in certain suburbs.

In addition to its deal with the Standard, PA has also forged a new agreement with Scotland’s Herald & Times Group to provide page production services to its newspapers from PA headquarters in Howden, East Yorkshire.

The contract with the Herald & Times Group, which is owned by Newsquest, will see PA provide a range of news and feature subbing work.

The national news agency already has a deal to sub the Herald’s business pages and provide pages of national and international news stories for its sister paper, Glasgow’s Evening Times.

Tony Watson, managing director of the Press Association, said: “The deals are great examples of how our pages service can be tailored to the different needs of newspaper titles.

“We offer the reassurance of pages produced with customers’ values, style and standards and, particularly important in the current economic climate, cost benefits made possible through economies of scale.”

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