More worrying news for the staff of the Lennox Herald and Daily Record.
The newspapers’ owner, Reach plc, is closing offices and reviewing its policy on journalists working from home after a daily newspaper’s office in the group was put on the market.
Reach’s trading update last week, in which it was announced around 550 jobs were set to be cut across the company, mentioned local commercial and finance staff would be based at “fewer locations” as part of a number of changes to the business’s operations brought on by the coronavirus crisis.
The Lennox Herald’s local competitors, the Clydebank Post, the Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter and the Helensburgh Advertiser, owned by Newsquest have all been moved into a single office in Clydebank.
The [Glasgow] Herald has also been moved from its office at Renfield Street in Glasgow city centre to that same office in Clydebank.
Reporters, advertising reps and back office staff are becoming increasingly worried about their jobs, although some of them are included in the government furlough scheme at present.
It is scheduled to end however some time in October.
The Reach plc update did not state whether any such changes would be made in relation to editorial staff, although it revealed plans to move towards a “more centralised structure bringing together national and regional teams”.
Discussing the situation with the Telegraph office, a Reach spokeswoman told the magazine Hold the Front Page: “Like many businesses across the UK, a lot of our people are working from home, and will be until at least October.
“There may be cases where leases expire but we continue to review long term policy towards home working.”
HTFP has asked for clarification on whether new office space will be sought within Coventry, or whether other newsrooms run by Reach will be made available to affected staff.
The current site, on Leicester Row in Coventry’s canal basin area, has been home to the newspaper since 2012.
The three-storey building is listed as being available for £4,829 per calendar month.
The Telegraph was previously based at Corporation Street, a five-minute walk away, for more than 50 years.
Bill Heaney, publisher of The Dumbarton Democrat online digital platform (democratonline.net) and a former editor of the Lennox Herald and the Dumbarton Reporter, said: “This is worrying news for West Dunbartonshire. Local newspapers are the concrete that binds communities together and are an integral part of those communities.
“They are greatly under valued by the local council who took all their advertising away from them and switched it to the web on the pretext of saving council taxpayers’ money.
“The the Daily Record was always the best-selling daily newspaper around here. I hope both newspapers can come through this period of uncertainty.
“It looks to me as if the recent decision by the Scottish government to inject £3 million into local newspapers through advertising was a waste of time and money.
“There are more than 40 local weeklies in Scotland. It’s not hard to work out that the Holyrood rescue package, like so many things linked to coronavirus, was too little, too late.”