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Archant to close five newspaper offices saying town centre locations 'make no sense commercially'

Archant is set to close five newspaper offices across three counties with reporters expected to work remotely from home or on patches.

The regional publisher told staff about the office closures in an internal memo, seen by Press Gazette, which said the decision to cut offices came after “a hard look at costs” across the company.

The publisher of more than 140 titles said that no jobs will be cut and no local newspapers closed as a result of the changes.

A spokesperson said: “Archant can confirm that, as part of an ongoing review of the suitability of its offices, five town offices in Norfolk, Suffolk and Hertfordshire will close.”

The note sent to staff by Archant chief content officer and New European editor Matt Kelly said the move would help save money and make titles and journalists “more visible in our communities”.

He said: “The idea of having an office in the centre of our towns made perfect sense when technology made it difficult for us to operate remotely and when the front desk was a great source of both stories and advertising. All that has changed now.

“The vast majority of our advertising customers today want to do business with us digitally or over the phone. Stories no longer walk in through the front door either.

“The amount of footfall we generate from having expensive office locations has plummeted in recent years and makes no sense commercially.”

Kelly added that content management systems and other technology meant reporters could work from “pretty much anywhere”, including places where there is “no bandwidth or mobile signal”.

The closures are part of a process of shutting down smaller Archant offices with one of the remaining offices to be used as a “hub”. Kelly said staff could use the hub “only when absolutely necessary”, such as for meetings and for “editors to see off the weekly newspaper”.

The closure of Archant offices comes after the publisher scrapped five luxury magazines in west London along with three jobs. It has previously announced plans to sell off its headquarters in Norwich (pictured).

In January JPI Media, which took over from Johnston Press, also told staff that it was putting the company’s property portfolio under review.

Picture: Google Maps

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12 thoughts on “Archant to close five newspaper offices saying town centre locations 'make no sense commercially'”

  1. The first step,no doubt,in not only closing all district offices over time,but also the neglected and pitiful weeklies, once essential and habitual buys, now thin,sickly looking papers full of old news, social media copy and pastes, with an over reliance on UGC and unsurprisingly selling only a handful of papers,ignored by people who get their local news elsewhere online and for free.
    Sad but understandable given the depths to which all of these papers have fallen in a such a very short period of time.

  2. How can closing offices, retreating from a county location and replacing a highly visible and branded (albeit soulless and run down)office with a reporter working from home be ”… making us more visible in our communities?”
    It sounds like the aim is simply to get the job done as cheaply and as quickly as possible so just imagine how soul destroying and lonely it will be for the luckless individual given the role of working from home or from a table in a local caff in a community which has had little interest in the paper and will have even less once it closes it’s office and leaves another shop empty in the high street.
    If they’re really serious about making substantial cost savings can I suggest the company no longer pays for directors frequent overnight stays in expensive hotels, stops paying their huge mobile and broadband bills and cuts directors expense claims and excesesive travel costs,cutting down on the large number of commercial managers overloading the payroll might also be a less damaging way of saving money than this latest Ill conceived tactic which will only alienate the company and its papers even further from the communities it foolishly believes it still serves.

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