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Dave Hedgehog

Isle Of Man Newspapers

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Richard Butt has posted a very long response to the criticism on the iomtoday website - makes a couple of interesting points, but also claims news doesn't happen at night.

 

http://www.iomtoday....press_1_3990073

 

Thanks to everyone for your comments. I’d just like to answer the main points raised. First of all, as we say in the story, we made this proposal with a heavy heart. However, we do have to think of the long-term future of the company. The press will not get younger. It’s 19 years old. Most newspapers elsewhere are colour throughout these days. Advertisers want colour advertising throughout. Our press is just not suited to that.

 

We examined the alternatives thoroughly. It’s just not economic to buy a new press or even to substantially refurbish our existing one. I wish that it were. But the sums just don’t add up. If the proposal goes ahead, the company would still employ 53 people in the Isle of Man, plus all the people who deliver the Courier. We will still support Manx businesses wherever we can. We will, of course, be very sad to see the press hall staff and collators go if the proposal goes ahead. They’re a great team and the proposal is no reflection on them or all their hard work. If we can redeploy any of them, we will.

 

The timing of the announcement was down to the timing of the board meeting which supported the proposal. That was held on Friday. The staff were told about the proposal on Monday as the Examiner was being printed. That’s the first time they were all in after the board meeting and that’s why the news wasn’t in the Examiner. We told John Shimmin, the Economic Development Minister, and Allan Bell, the Chief Minister, on Monday as a matter of courtesy. A few minutes after the staff were told, the announcement was emailed to other news organisations and this story was put on our website. As we say in the story, if the boats don't sail, we'll fly the papers in.

 

PK suggests that we have only two reporters. In fact, we have 25 editorial staff, of whom 10 are news reporters, although three of those are part-time. In addition, we have our business editor, sports staff, production staff, web staff, photographers, support staff and me. All the reporting and sub-editing is done in the island and will continue to be so in the future no matter where the papers are printed. We will be printing the newspapers and transporting them back to the island overnight if the proposal goes ahead. Not much news happens when most people are asleep so the papers that are in the newsagents’ shops first thing in the morning will still be fresh if we do start printing them in the UK.

 

CBR suggests that the reason we changed format for the Examiner was because of this proposal. In fact, we changed format after a lot of market research. Our readers said they would prefer it to be compact and our circulation figures since reflect that. Anyway, the press at Dinnington is more than capable of printing broadsheet and tabloid papers.

 

Asio Otus asks what happened to the consultation on the broadsheet. Well, we did stacks of market research, including a “meet the editor” day at the Strand Centre when I was privileged to meet scores of readers. The overwhelming response was that it was time for a change. It was thanks to that consultation that we changed.

 

Although I am not at liberty to say how much exactly we have made in profit, I can reassure you that Isle of Man Newspapers is a profitable company. However, we are always looking at ways to improve our products. That’s why we changed the Examiner’s format. That’s also why we’ve made this proposal. The board believes that full colour newspapers would be better for readers and advertisers and thus help to secure the company’s future in the long term. We shall also be investing in our digital services to improve this website. I am not Phil T.

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I think it's very simple. If you don't like the fact they are moving printing off island then don't buy the papers. I haven't bought one for years anyway.

I do think the government should move away from the public notices they print to a cheaper way (online). I realise they may be a legal requirement but our ability to ammend legislation quickly is supposed to be one of our strengths isn't it?

 

It may have escaped you but not everyone is or wishes to be 'Online' For many older people the newspapers are their only contact with the outside world. As to your idea that online would be a 'cheaper' way why not go the whole hog and just have the local news put on a 'Tesco' newsboard in the store. That way all those who wish for a 'cheap' way of life could get their news for free while buying all their' cheap' goods to fuel their 'cheap' way of life. On the other hand Tesco may not agree, after all it would be 'Local' news.

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Richard Butt points out that Isle of Man Newspapers is a profitable company without going into detail. However this is against a very challenging situation at Group level following the acquisitive strategy followed some years ago whilst other media groups were retrenching. The share price reflects what the market thinks about the situation. Even profitable subsidiaries in this group are going to have to sweat the assets and make whatever savings they can. http://www.johnstonp...y/5yearsummary/

Edited by woolley

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I think it's very simple. If you don't like the fact they are moving printing off island then don't buy the papers. I haven't bought one for years anyway.

I do think the government should move away from the public notices they print to a cheaper way (online). I realise they may be a legal requirement but our ability to ammend legislation quickly is supposed to be one of our strengths isn't it?

 

It may have escaped you but not everyone is or wishes to be 'Online' For many older people the newspapers are their only contact with the outside world. As to your idea that online would be a 'cheaper' way why not go the whole hog and just have the local news put on a 'Tesco' newsboard in the store. That way all those who wish for a 'cheap' way of life could get their news for free while buying all their' cheap' goods to fuel their 'cheap' way of life. On the other hand Tesco may not agree, after all it would be 'Local' news.

It may have escaped your notice but not everyone is or wishes to live anywhere near a paper shop. Many elderly people have no transport & live further than walking distance from a newsagents. Also are these older, presumably retired people really interested in the public notices that the government put in the paper? If any were really that interested & had no internet access perhaps they could register with the government & have them posted to them every week, I'm sure the numbers would be tiny.

You may mock doing things on the "cheap", it may have escaped your notice though that the government doesn't have as much money as it used to have & wasting hundreds of thousands displaying public notices in the local poorly read rag when the same result could be incorporated into their existing website for virtually nothing doesn't make sense financial or otherwise. Their decision to move printing off island is an excellent opportunity to do this.

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A compromise - keep the IOMG statutory advertising but aggregate it as a single page classified listing rather than allow 'vanity' semi-display ads with in some instances the same grand Departmental logo appearing a number of times in the same issue.

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On the plus side, if it is going to be printed in colour in the UK, at long last we will know the colour of that 'Cat stuck in tree', what colour the mayor's hair really is in 'Mayor wears a toupe'.

 

I can't wait! I bet they're both ginger. Maybe...even...one and the same thing!

 

 

 

 

.

Edited by Tweek

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hot chat around the newsroom etc etc is that now there isn't any requirement for a printing hall or collation then Johnson Press are having the building put up for sale and will, on a short term agreement, rent somewhere else before selling off / closing down IOM and pulling out completely.......what do you think of this then???

 

and who can this 'speculation' be put to at Johnson Press H.O. to either confirm or deny??

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A compromise - keep the IOMG statutory advertising but aggregate it as a single page classified listing rather than allow 'vanity' semi-display ads with in some instances the same grand Departmental logo appearing a number of times in the same issue.

 

You're right, they're probably getting too much government money..

 

hot chat around the newsroom etc etc is that now there isn't any requirement for a printing hall or collation then Johnson Press are having the building put up for sale and will' date=' on a short term agreement, rent somewhere else before selling off / closing down IOM and pulling out completely.......what do you think of this then???

 

and who can this 'speculation' be put to at Johnson Press H.O. to either confirm or deny??[/quote']

 

I wouldn't blame them for looking at moving. Without the press there are buildings better suited for their operations, and a renting a normal office could be better for their cash flow.

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The government did not take long to stop advertising government construction tenders in the papers.

 

They are all sent out by email from the Employers Federation now and have been for a few weeks.

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hot chat around the newsroom etc etc is that now there isn't any requirement for a printing hall or collation then Johnson Press are having the building put up for sale and will, on a short term agreement, rent somewhere else before selling off / closing down IOM and pulling out completely.......what do you think of this then???

 

If you look at the figures quoted recently then this is very plausible. Maybe one advertising rag such as The Courier printed in England will remain?

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hot chat around the newsroom etc etc is that now there isn't any requirement for a printing hall or collation then Johnson Press are having the building put up for sale and will, on a short term agreement, rent somewhere else before selling off / closing down IOM and pulling out completely.......what do you think of this then???

 

and who can this 'speculation' be put to at Johnson Press H.O. to either confirm or deny??

 

Doubt if they'll pull out of the news scene here unless a national broadcasting organisation with the initial mr actually pulled it's finger out & got properly organised and financed - but maybe politicians wouldn't like that, a professional broadcaster would would show them up to be mostly amateurish would it not?

 

Johnston Press CEO Ashley Highfield has recently stated that all its newspapers have profit margins of over 20% so journalists jobs are fairly safe I hope

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I think it's very simple. If you don't like the fact they are moving printing off island then don't buy the papers. I haven't bought one for years anyway.

I do think the government should move away from the public notices they print to a cheaper way (online). I realise they may be a legal requirement but our ability to ammend legislation quickly is supposed to be one of our strengths isn't it?

 

It may have escaped you but not everyone is or wishes to be 'Online' For many older people the newspapers are their only contact with the outside world. As to your idea that online would be a 'cheaper' way why not go the whole hog and just have the local news put on a 'Tesco' newsboard in the store. That way all those who wish for a 'cheap' way of life could get their news for free while buying all their' cheap' goods to fuel their 'cheap' way of life. On the other hand Tesco may not agree, after all it would be 'Local' news.

Oohhh, cutting edge. Nice angle

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but the Group profit before interest and taxation in the last few years has plummeted.....from £171,690,000 to losses of £54,868,000 so imo a room in Douglas with 6 or so staff will soon (2/3 years) become reality......

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I think it's very simple. If you don't like the fact they are moving printing off island then don't buy the papers. I haven't bought one for years anyway.

I do think the government should move away from the public notices they print to a cheaper way (online). I realise they may be a legal requirement but our ability to ammend legislation quickly is supposed to be one of our strengths isn't it?

 

It may have escaped you but not everyone is or wishes to be 'Online' For many older people the newspapers are their only contact with the outside world. As to your idea that online would be a 'cheaper' way why not go the whole hog and just have the local news put on a 'Tesco' newsboard in the store. That way all those who wish for a 'cheap' way of life could get their news for free while buying all their' cheap' goods to fuel their 'cheap' way of life. On the other hand Tesco may not agree, after all it would be 'Local' news.

Oohhh, cutting edge. Nice angle

Public notices could and should be published online. A brief outline could be read out on Manx Radio at given times each week, and anyone who wants a full copy of a particular notice could call a freephone number and have it posted out to them.

 

How long before they have to be published in multiple languages by the way?

Edited by Max Power

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