Some titles stop printing
Herald and Scotsman owners facing cost pressures
Paid titles are taking a hit and free papers being axed
Scotland’s newspaper owners are coming under increasing pressure to cut costs as advertising melts away and deliveries become logistically difficult under current restrictions.
JPI Media, publisher of The Scotsman, Falkirk Herald and other titles across the UK, is to stop printing 12 of its titles because of the challenges of arranging delivery and the collapse in the local advertising market.
Reporters and print newspaper distribution staff covering the virus are considered key workers, but financial constraints are putting pressure on publishers to take drastic action.
Seven paid-for newspapers, one magazine title and four free newspapers in the JPIMedia group, mostly in the south of England, will not be printed from Monday.
JPIMedia said it intended to retain journalists at these centres to run websites. Staff have been told that JPI was “carefully exploring how we can use the various government schemes available to support both the business and our staff.”
While the stoppages are said to be temporary suspensions, staff will be wary of the presses being made permanently silent and spreading to other titles in the group.
Newsquest, which publishes about 200 brands including The Herald, The National and Evening Times in Glasgow, is placing a “significant number” of its staff on enforced leave and cutting the wages of those who remain.
The company has seen “very significant declines in revenue”, particularly from advertising, as many customers cancel or put their plans on hold.