Wednesday, April 01, 2009

A Little Extra Help From TDC?

It's been widely reported that local papers across the country are suffering in the teeth of the recession. In fact they've been well and truly bitten on the bum. Still, I expect Barry, Gordo and their chums will sort everything out up in that London tomorrow.

Meanwhile, although we might moan and groan at some of their coverage (or non-coverage), we're lucky that we're still served by three pretty good rags here on Chavvy Island. I'm talking about your super, soaraway yourfannitinnit, the Gazunder (which has perked up recently since lovely editor Rebecca Smith got back from maternity leave) and the Thanet Extra. Not that they haven't had their difficulties. The Gazunder has moved offices, and the Daily Mail owned group that runs it is reported to be reorganising its Kent operations, as well as slashing 1000 jobs across the country.

But the Kent Messenger group that owns the Extra seems to be suffering the most, with another round of job cuts announced recently, and its editorial director reported to be currently on 'gardening leave'. As part of the cuts, KM were due to close their offices in Folkestone and Thanet. In fact, my spies on the grimy streets of Cliftonville, where Thanet Extra is based, tell me that they were about to relocate to Herne Bay as of tomorrow.

But wait! What's this? A white night to the rescue, in the form of our very own beloved council! Far from wanting the messenger shot, the duffers at Cecil Square have thrown the Extra a lifeline, it seems, by offering to let them stay on in Cliftonville 'without the usual costs'.

Now all this must be firmly filed in the draw marked 'rumour and gossip', and I have no way of knowing if or what costs TDC could waive. But it strikes me that, if it turns out to be true, there might be a few hundred other traders and businesses around the island who'd like to be given a hand up courtesy of the council taxpayer.

Oh, but they wouldn't be the kinds of businesses that Sandy, Roger and co would need to wine, dine and sixty-nine so that their infinite guff could be captured in print for eternity, would they?


Anonymous said...

I would respectfully suggest you find better spies, Mr ECR.

Anonymous said...

What happened to the adscene? Nobody I know has had one for many weeks.

tony flaig bignews said...

Sounds like utter b*ll*cks if I might say so.

KM might be rejigging things but they seem to be in retrenching rather than retreating unlike northcliff's lot are who've mentioned that their closing titles

Eastcliff Richard said...

We'll see, shall we? Rather than rely on anonymous comments or the, um, unerring dart that is Mr Flaig's news nose.

When I hear it's b*ll*cks from somebody in the local media who actually knows what's going on I might, just might, repent!

Anonymous said...

Nevr get Adscene - The Extra comes every Wednesday though

Anonymous said...

Hello ECR. I have it on good authority that it was actually the KM centre at Whitstable the Thanet Extra was retrenching to. This will eventually happen but not for a few months yet, I'm told - something to do with the KMFM radio studios at Cliftonville still needing to be used.

Today (Thursday) is the last day of work for around 150 KM Group employees as they are taking redundancy. One of the Thanet Extra based editorial staff leaves after 28 years with the paper, having started work to help launch it in 1981 - good luck Peter in all that you do.

The cutbacks will see an end to the KMG printing its papers at Larkfield near Maidstone. This will mean that not one of Kent's local papers will be printed in the county any longer. A sad sign of the times.

As for the Sandy involvement in the Northdown Road property, there is some truth in what is being said but I don't think it will be the council buying it at a knockdown price.

Other former KM offices in Dover and Sittingbourne, which were closed last year, are listed in local property auctions (Clive Emson) happening about now. It will be interesting to see what they go for as this will set a yardstick for what the Cliftonville office might be worth.

Tony Flaig is right that KM aren''t shutting down titles - just rearranging offices. Who knows though what could come in a third round of cuts which could be on the cards if things don't improve at the KM.

Northcliffe are shutting down Adscenes in Ashford and Maidstone so I understand - but not Thanet. Their Canterbury office will close later this year so Herne Bay and Whitstable Times reporters will move to Gazette office in Thanet in a few months time after they have all reapplied for their jobs.

Media events are worthy of a soap opera eh?

Eastcliff Richard said...

Thanks for the update 10:12. You seem to be better informed on this than my informant. I'll take it as a 'must try harder'!

Glad to know, though, that it wasn't 'utter b*ll*cks' as suggested by our Tone. Just the 'usual b*ll*cks'.

Anonymous said...

One big hint, the signs now covering the front half of their offices don't make much reference their shop next door instead advising visitors to call them on a number... Read into that what you will about their future plans here...