Regional journalists are early victims of Brexit effect

Peter Preston
The post that handles America’s largest newspaper company Gannett at the New York Stock Exchange. The company owns Newsquest, which has just shut down its sub-editing hub in Wales. Photograph: Richard Drew/AP

Forget Peugeot and Ellesmere Port for a moment. Think of something much closer to journalism’s future here and now. The mighty Gannett company, America’s largest newspaper company, owns Newsquest of the UK, with 205 titles and brands around Britain. When the dollar sinks against the pound, Newsquest profits help Gannett figures and keep shareholders happy. (That was one reason for the purchase in the beginning).

But what happens when the boot is on the other post-Brexit vote foot, when sterling suffers most pitifully? Then the boss of Gannett talks “negative impact” and promises “cost operational improvements to more meaningfully impact the second half of the year”.

Which in plainer English means shutting down the sub-editing hub in Newport, south Wales – 70 jobs lost overall, the last 14 going now – and shifting what’s left to Weymouth. The meaningful impact, you might say, of getting pushed off the pier.