Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Don't Shoot The Messenger

Holy financial black holes! I see the Kent Messenger Group is to slash around a tenth of its workforce, blaming a 25-30% drop in its advertising revenue. The family owned business publishes Thanet Extra hereabouts, a weekly freesheet which I get to see, ooh, about once or twice a year due to a rather erratic delivery set-up on the south side. When I have seen it I've been rather impressed, I must say. Now KM Group are closing six of their smaller offices and 'restructuring' their editorial operation, saying adios to 61 employees.

The news must also cast a shadow over our very own Isle of Thanet Gazunder and newcomer yourfannitinnit. Which is a pity since, no matter what you think of them, by having such a healthy crop of local newspapers, the stories they don't want you to hear usually manage to seep out over time.

Oh well, let's hope the generous, milky nipple of public sector advertising in these parts supplies them with enough sustenance to carry on. Except, of course, even greater reliance on the aforementioned public sector nipple will lessen the chances of anything juicy seeping out as they'll be reluctant to bite the teat that feeds them. Er, I think I've taken that metaphor as far as it will go now.

Click here to read Kent Messenger story on BBC News website

Update: It seems that Thanet Extra will be saved for the nation for now. According to the Kent Messenger website, offices under consideration for the axe are Dover, Faversham, Sittingbourne and Tunbridge Wells, along with radio studios in Maidstone and Tonbridge. Click here to read more.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have a look at Thanet Extra's website too which has the story. It's a sad day for all involved yet Thanet office is not on the hit list (fingers crossed). I'm told Thanet Extra editorial is run on very slim resources already.

Following an earlier announcement by opposition group KRN Media, this means that neither Sittingbourne or Faversham will have any local newspaper offices at all before long.

As it stands, Thanet is a very newsy area. It boasts specifically two paid for papers, three free papers, three websites and a local radio station and of course a variety of blogspots as well. Then of course you have the county feeds from others as well.

Anonymous said...

think you should start your own publishing, or get Michael to publish a Thanetsaurus for christmas, am still laughing at the black humour of "high street" definition.
Thanet only very newsy because of the minututae of the lot that are in charge of the council, if we had a different regime i dont think it would merit the news, unless of course they were doing unimaginable good forward thinking actions for the good of the towns ---perhaps i had better dream on ...on that note i'll nod off

Anonymous said...

Dont feel to put out ECR, I live only a few roads from Thanet Extra's office and I only get the paper delivered about twice a year.
I agree though it is a good paper, not as good as your and other bloggers reporting. Keep up the good work you all and we might get some good investigative reporting in the local press.

Anonymous said...

Its not just newspapers, it affect local radio as well. Last week the demise of Invicta FM was anounced - to become Heart. Presumably a lot of the programmes will no longer come from Kent. And Meridian ITV along with other regional ITV is to loose a lot of local content.
I doubt whether the local news is now broadcast from a local studio, I see the same Roseby van going over Maidstone bridge every night just after 6.10! These regional companies and local radio were good training grounds.

Eastcliff Richard said...

It's a pity that at a time when people are demanding more and more local news cutbacks like this are killing it off. Of course it all depends on advertising revenue so it's only to be expected in the current downturn.

Lord 'elpus we'll soon all be relying on the BBC. Not a healthy state of affairs, as they only ever seem to have the confidence to cover what's in the newspapers in the first place!

Ken Gregory said...

A friend of mine is being made redundant after 27 years. The level of his redundancy is abysimal. I would urge you all to stop supporting any KM company.

B S Billy said...

Life is grim at the moment and maybe blighters like yourself are to blame with your near genius reportage of local events.

Anonymous said...

The problem with boycotting the KM group is that if you take it to its logical end then the other 500 employees will also be out of work. Back in the old days, somebody working in print with 27 years sevice would have got at least 30 month severence pay, the unions saw to that. Now employers can do what they like. So what do you prefer?

Anonymous said...

@Ken Gregory
What an irresponsible comment! Boycotting KM titles will simply leave the company needing to make even more redundancies. I see from your profile that you're a councillor in Thanet? Presumably your council wouldn't relish the prospect of however many redundancies laying off staff at the Extra and KMFM would result in? Perhaps I'm wrong.
I'd guess the 580 people who will apparently be left aren't feeling too good about their friends and colleagues leaving either, Ken. Let's not make it worse for them 'eh?

Anonymous said...

Re: Ken Gregory

Oh my god! A councillor in Thanet not taking the long view, surely not....

Nige

Lucy Mail said...

As you point out yourself, Dickie, their reporting is influenced by the advertising that funds (or doesn't, as it seems) their rag.
No great loss if they went 'Origami'!

Anonymous said...

well Ken,I am sorry for your freind but one of my friends worked in the Library and the council decided to get rid of all the community Librarians-some of whom had worked for 20 years or more..what a terrible loss for the local community,these people were highly qualified and full of knowledge but were just thrown on the scrapheap-and now we have the chaos that is called "The Gateway"The Library barely exists it is full of screaming children and people swearing and carrying on about benefits etc,it is not clear which counter is TDC or Library-It just does not work..

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we should boycott TDC and then put Ken, Sandy and his mates out of a job! What an idea! That's our long view. But a good one this time! Get some independant councillors on who don't just follow the party line and get something done for the benefit of us Thanetians!

Anonymous said...

Now that's what I call a plan!

Anonymous said...

The Gateway library is the legacy of Paul Moore, the one always in denial of anything he says,perhaps he will deny ever dreaming it up. I agree about the swearing etc i try not to take my kids there as i always thought libraries were quiet places to persuse books not to hear language on the street. Maybe that is the idea to debase all Thanetians to Sandy's uncouth level?I thought libraries were areas to try to broaden our horizons but there are limits!

Ken Gregory said...

Its the same as the South Africa problem back in the 70's. Do you take sanctions to get change, or do you do nothing. Mr Mandela said that he would have prefered us to take sanctions. If you move the argument on Do we ignore Km's shoddy treatment of their workforce, in the hopes that the rest keep their jobs, or take a stand at Km's management.

I am reminded of the much used tale. 'First they came for........'

Anonymous said...

@ Ken G

How on earth can you compare the massive problems in SA with tha of a few redundancies? I agree that it is sad for all those involved, and I have been made redundant several times, but please keep a bit of perspective.

Just hope those KM bosses read in the news about what happened to that Italian Parts boss in India, 63 people charged with his murder after he sacked them I read !!


Nige

Anonymous said...

Cllr Ken Gregory should be ashamed of himself for making the comments he has made.

Of course, he has no shame, and is probably only voicing opinions held by others who wish to remain nameless.

Bit like his shameful handling of the China Gateway site meeting etc. When dirty deeds to be done, just get old Ken, he'll spout any old rubbish for us!!

Ken Gregory said...

Interesting comments, but I think my comments were slightly less extreme than those of Nige over the fate of the Italian managers,( Incidentally i think the Italians were ok as they locked themselves in a closet. It was an Indian manager who took the blows.)

Having spent years since 1978 boycotting Barcleys over their stance on South Africa, I would be expected to make a stand on behalf of my friend. Or I would not be much of a friend.

Anonymous said...

The voters of Thanet should be pleased that 23 years after they pulled out of SA, they have a councillor who wont do business with Barclays Bank. I know people who still wont buy anything Japaneese! Many people also feel the same about doing business with China with their human rights issues. You can see where this is going ....

Anonymous said...

Ken Gregory has just shown himself to be a total hypocrite, and an idiot!!

Quoting the stance of Barclays bank, while he himself supports the Chinese and their human rights issues.

We know you stand by your friends Ken! That's why your standing by Wills and Co.

Martin said...

Unfortunately I suspect that Ken is not alone in the 'idiot' stakes as far as this council is concerned that is why it is in the mess it is.

Anonymous said...

"Ken Gregory said...
A friend of mine is being made redundant after 27 years. The level of his redundancy is abysimal. I would urge you all to stop supporting any KM company."


Sorry Ken, this is total rubbish.

I know people in the company who have been affected by the announcement.

At the moment, no one, has actually been made redundant, as they are in a consultation period. So not only is your comment firstly totally ficticious, but also damages a company.

Now I am not sure, but isn't that breaking a law or 2.

Mr Gregory, you, above anyone else as a councillor, and as a representative of TDC, should be ashamed to attack a company that employs people on the island.

Ken Gregory said...

It worked then, everyone hacked off with me, and few mentions of Sandy and co. ps I didnt say I still was carry out my own sanctions against Barclays, In actual fact I do business with them. With regards to KM please read the words and not what you wish the words to say

Anonymous said...

What do you mean by, 'It worked then, everyone hacked off with me etc'.

Seems like you've been told to take flack away from your bosses Sandy and Co.

Why on earth could this be I wonder?

Anonymous said...

Hey Ken! How about making a stand on behalf of your electorate!

Anonymous said...

We are witnessing the ramblings of 'our Ken'who clearly cannot decide whether to be ashamed of his socialist past or not, having embraced the Tory Party. Still muddled by the sound of it.

Anonymous said...

But not 'Bumbling' Like David Green

Anonymous said...

It's hardly surprising. The KM is little more that a badly cut and pasted press releases holding together pages of adverts. Of corse in a recession a paper that that is little more than adverts is going to struggle.

As for making someone redundant after 27 years, so what? It's a newspaper - let the old duffer go and keep the keen, young reporters.

The redundant old duffer could always get a blog and become the new ECR

Eastcliff Richard said...

Old duffer? I'll have you know I'm still the right side of 30!!! It's 'young duffer', p-l-eeeeze!