Archive for the 'Advertsing Revenues' Category

09
Mar
09

gazette watch

Bloggers will have noticed that the local snooze paper has become the official voice of the borough’s Labour run council and that it’s editor Mr Dumpy, aka Papa John Szymanski has handed over editorial control to his paymaster council leader Iain Malcolm.

This has been a gradual process and at first Papa John paid lip service to his profession by at least appearing to be reporting things from a neutral perspective and even appeared to occasionally challenge the shit churned out by the Minister of Propaganda, Linda Fothergill, aka the council’s Head of Communications.

Miss Piggy, aka councillor Iain Malcolm, quickly realised how easy it was to manipulate Mr Dumpy – all he had to do was make him feel loved, invite him to council functions and make sure the fat bastard could stuff his face with free sausagee rolls – and the Gazette was his to control.

But over the last month Mr Monkey has noticed that Papa John Szymanski appears to have handed over editorial control to the local Labour party and they in turn seem to publish whatever they want with little or no involvement from the paper’s journalists, especially the so called council reporter Paul Myles Kelly.

Mr Monkey thought he’d test this theory by comparing the council’s latest press release about a possible reduction in council rents with Paul Myles Kelly’s article. CLICK HERE.

Housing Minister set to give away £175 million but Ed Malcolm wants the credit'

Housing Minister set to give away £175 million but Ed Malcolm wants the credit'

This chimp was astounded by the results and proves beyond doubt that Papa John Szymanski is nothing more than Miss Piggy’s plaything and that the Gazette is just another propaganda tool for the local Labour run council.

Judge for yourself – below is the press release issued by the council

COUNCIL RECONSIDERS RENTS FOLLOWING GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENT

Council tenants in South Tyneside could be set for a reduction in next year’s rent increase after the Government announced a new package of financial support for local authorities.

South Tyneside Council has already agreed a 6.84 per cent rise in rents for 2009/10, in accordance with the Government’s rent restructuring guidelines.

But the Council is now reconsidering that figure following today’s Government decision to slash its average guideline rent increase for 2009/10 from 6.2 per cent to 3.1 per cent.

The Government is providing up to £175 million to local authorities in England in an effort to encourage councils to reduce the amount tenants would have to pay for the coming year.

The Council’s Lead Member Resources, Councillor Ed Malcolm, said: “This is welcome news from the Government. Both the Council and the Board of South Tyneside Homes wrote to the Government at the turn of the year to express our concerns that their average guideline rent increase was above what most people could afford at this difficult time, and we have been pressing the Government to rethink its position. We are delighted that the Government has listened to our calls, and responded.

“We are keen to provide real help now for Council tenants. I have instructed officers to assess the revised position following this afternoon’s announcement with a view to making recommendations that will ensure that Council tenants can benefit. We are aware that tenants have already received letters outlining next year’s rent increase, and will be contacting them again as soon as we are in a position to do so.”

The Council’s existing rent increase of 6.84 per cent was agreed in accordance with the Government’s rent restructuring policy. This policy aims to bring the amount council tenants pay into line with people living in properties managed by other registered social landlords, such as housing associations.

As Council rents in South Tyneside are historically low, rent increases are often slightly higher than the Government’s guideline in order to close the gap with rents charged by other landlords.

Any change to the increase in rents for 2009/10 would have to be agreed by full Council.

Now compare this to the article below that appeared in the The Labour Gazetteer, formerly known as the Shields Gazette. The differences between the 2 articles have been highlighted in red and amount to a change of title, the addition of 8 words and the removal of 2 others.

TENANTS IN LINE FOR RENT CUTS

COUNCIL house tenants in South Tyneside could be set for a major reduction in next year’s rent increase after the Government announced a new package of financial support for local authorities.

South Tyneside Council had already agreed a 6.84 per cent rise in rents for 2009/10, in accordance with the Government’s rent restructuring guidelines.

But the council is now reconsidering that figure after today’s Government decision to slash its average guideline rent increase for 2009/10 from 6.2 per cent to 3.1 per cent.

The Government is providing up to £175m to local authorities in England in an effort to encourage councils to reduce the amount tenants would have to pay for the coming year.

The council’s lead member for resources, Coun Ed Malcolm, said: “This is welcome news from the Government.

“Both the council and the board of South Tyneside Homes wrote to the Government at the turn of the year to express our concerns that their average guideline rent increase was above what most people could afford at this difficult time.

“We have been pressing the Government to rethink its position, and we are delighted the Government has listened to our calls, and responded.

“We are keen to provide real help now for council tenants.

“I have instructed officers to assess the revised position after this announcement, with a view to making recommendations that will ensure that council tenants can benefit.

“We are aware that tenants have already received letters outlining next year’s rent increase, and will be contacting them again as soon as we are in a position to do so.”
 
The council’s existing rent increase of 6.84 per cent was agreed in accordance with the Government’s rent restructuring policy.
 
This policy aims to bring the amount council tenants pay into line with people living in properties managed by other registered social landlords, such as housing associations.

As council rents in South Tyneside are historically low, rent increases are often slightly higher than the Government’s guideline in order to close the gap with rents charged by other landlords.

Any change to the increase in rents for 2009/10 would have to be agreed by full council, at a meeting on March 26.
Well done Paul Myles Kelly, another worthwhile piece of investigative journalism worthy of your profession the Gazette.
09
Feb
09

GAZETTE: The End Is Nigh

Mr Monkey reckons the newspaper industry has moved towards the end of middle-age, growing increasingly aware of its own mortality.

Like someone nearing retirement, it might well expect to have a couple of decades left before it’s ready to start pushing up the daisies.

However, the reality is many groups haven’t led the healthiest of lifestyles. Instead of investing for the future, they became greedier and greedier in the margins they chased.

It wasn’t so long ago Johnston Press, whose titles include the Shields Gazette and the Sunderland Echo, were the toast of the industry. Thirty per cent profits.

Why aren’t we making that, they chorused in boardrooms up and down the land.

Now look at them; they’re shares are not worth a bag of crisps.

It’s easy to be wise with hindsight but like all newspaper groups, they never really “got” the internet until it started getting to them.

In late middle-age it seems Johnston Press may well be prone to a sudden heart attack.

Mr Monkey can’t help wondering how long the banks are going to put up with their debt mountain – which is approaching half a billion pounds – and given they’re falling revenues it won’t be long before they decide it’s time to foreclose.

It must be worrying times for those employed by the Gazette – do yourselves a favour and get out before it’s too late – apparently Papa John Szymanski is already looking.

07
Feb
09

Is It Worth Advertising In The Gazette?

"Don't waste your money"

"Don't waste your money"

The credit crunch has got many local businesses thinking about value for money and cost savings especially when it comes to advertising.

Mr Monkey has been carrying out some research in to how effective newspaper advertising really is. There’s a theory that the more local a newspaper the less effective the advertising because local people already know about businesses in their area and in most cases readers simply skip over the ad pages without paying any attention to them – in effect they ignore what they already know.

The advent of the internet has enabled thousands of businesses to market themselves to a worldwide audience at very little cost. In today’s digital world businesses can establish an on-line presence for just a few pounds and can potentially reach an audience of billions. Unlike newspapers where you have to pay for an advert everytme it appears, a web presence, once established is as permanent as you want it to be – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and everyday of the year – now that’s got to be value for money.

With this type of competition to content with it’s no wonder newspapers are struggling to keep both their readers and advertisers. Virtually every newspaper is rapidly losing it’s readership, circulation figures are plummeting and advertising revenues are falling.

A closer examination of the circulation figures reveals a very different picture to the one newspaper advertising staff try to portray. Potential advertisers are told how successful newspaper advertising is and how many people an ad will reach but as with most things, especially at the Gazette everything is not what it seems.

The Audit Bureau of Circulations provides circulation, distribution and attendance data for ABC certified newspapers including the Gazette, the Sunderland Echo, the Chronicle and the Journal. This information is available on-line free of charge at http://www.abc.org.uk/cgi-bin/gen5?runprog=nav/abc&noc=y and makes interesting reading.

The figures reveal that all the region’s publications are losing readers but it also shows that the Shields Gazette is very much the poor relation when it comes to sales.

The latest daily sales figures available are for the period  December 2007 to June 2008 and are:

  • The Chronicle – 71, 878
  • The Sunderland Echo – 41,153
  • The Journal – 34,370
  • The Shields Gazette – 18,152

Based on these industry approved figures it seems advertising in the Shields Gazette is a waste of money so the next time you get a telephone call from their sweet talking sales staff think long and hard before you part with your money.

Industry predictions are that newspaper sales will continue to fall and it’s widely expected that the Gazette will reveal that it’s readership has fallen to around 15,000 the next time their figures are published.

At this rate of decline, Papa John Szymanski will go down in history as the last editor of the country’s oldest provincial newspaper and the man who was responsible for the death of the Gazette. 

Still Papa John could always return to his roots by joining some worthless magazine and Mr Monkey reckons he knows exactly which one – South Tyneside council’s ON VIEW – because anyone stupid enough to buy the Gazette will recognise the similarities.

04
Feb
09

Sub Editors Jobs To Go

It seems the owners of the Shields Gazette,  Johnston Press are continuing to push through thier controversial centralisation agenda in an effort to drive down costs and reduce the number of staff employed on individual titles.

This time Johnston Press is targeting sub-editing and picture desk management at its North West titles – with the potential loss of 12 jobs.

The North West is the third area, after the Midlands and Northern Ireland, where Johnston Press has announced centralisation. Staff were told last Thursday, and meetings were ongoing on Friday. The plans – subject to consultation – would see sub-editing at Chorley, Garstang, Burnley and Wigan moving to Preston, home of the Lancashire Evening Post, with the loss of four jobs.

Sub-editing in Lancaster and Morecambe would move to Blackpool, with six jobs lost but three created, giving a net loss of three.

Five picture desk editors from the region would have to apply for two jobs in Preston, and two photographer roles would also go, bringing the total job losses to 12. Titles affected would include the Burnley Express, the Chorley Guardian, and Morecambe’s The Visitor.

Johnston Press has recently announced centralisation in the Midlands, with 49 potential job losses, and Northern Ireland, with 11 job losses. In the Midlands, the National Union of Journalists is proposing an alternative restructuring. In Northern Ireland, staff at the Derry Journal have balloted for strike action.

When the centralising plans were announced, Johnston Press’s chief operating officer Danny Cammiade said, “Johnston Press is a newspaper group that bases itself on its localness.”

Unfortunately this will come as no comfort to the sub editors at the Gazette who are likely to lose their jobs when the centralisation programme reaches the North East later this year and perhaps now’s the time to look elsewhere.

Mr Monkey has heard that STCentral TV, South Tyneside’s rapidly growing internet TV channel is expanding it’s news operation and is currently recruiting experienced journalists, especially those with knowledge of sub editing – so what are you waiting for?

30
Jan
09

Gazette Set To Enter Partnership With Council

Judging by the quality of yesterday’s toilet paper, the Shields Gazette, it seems times are hard. 

Owners Johnston Press are concerned about falling circulation, declining advertising revenues and this has inevitably led to speculation as to the long term future of the paper. They’ve already imposed a pay freeze on staff, offered staff voluntary redundancy and have consigned the Jarrow and Hebburn edition to the dustbin – leaving only a single South Shields edition. Despite these measures it seems the owners want more.

This morning there is fevered speculation that a number of proof readers are to be offered early retirement on the grounds of ill health. Apparently they’re suffering from poor eye sight which probably explains why the Gazette has so many mistakes in it.

No one was available to comment at Johnston Press headquarters in Edinburgh but Mr Monkey was able to speak to the editor of the Gazette.

Papa John Szymanski said,

“I would like to thank our proof readers for their dedication over the years and wish them well in their retirement.

We will not be replacing them as we have decided to expand our partnership with South Tyneside Council and I am delighted to announce that from 1st February the council’s Communication Department will be taking on the role of proof reading, censorship, design and final editing. This way I won’t have to spend so much time in the town hall and on the phone to my paymaster, council leader Iain Malcolm.

This is a partnership made in heaven, the council gets what it wants – total control of the Gazette and I get to do even less work than I do now and have first choice on all the leftovers at the council’s buffets. Iain has even promised that sausage rolls will be on every council buffet menu from February 1st.”

Mr Monkey reckons this probably explains yesterday’s fuck up where the same article advertising a ward surgery appeared on pages 13 and 45. Although whoever was responsible must have had a sense of humour because the picture they used of Ugly Betty, aka councillor McMillan did her now favours. It seems she’s piled on the beef or her face is swollen form some other activity – when did the Ark Royal arrive?

Either way she’s one hell of an ugly fucker and Mr Monkey reckons he’ll be quids in if he takes her trick or treating next Halloween – the folks on the Lawe Top would give you anything as long as they didn’t have to open the door to Ugly Betty.

06
Jan
09

MR MONKEY’S POPULARITY REACHES AN ALL TIME HIGH

Mr Monkey has been evaluating the site’s stats for December and it seems that the popularity of Mr Monkey’s Blog knows no bounds.

In just 5 months Mr Monkey’s Blog has established itself as South Tyneside’s Premier Blog and is rapidly becoming the only place people turn to for information about the local political scene, the council, the Gazette and for all the gossip, rumours and tit bits about some of the individuals involved.

On December the 14th Mr Monkey bared all when he published a screen-grab of his stats page CLICK HERE.

Graham Rigg aka The Fat Mackem Hobbit  Curly – the man behind South Tyneside’s longest established blog (it’s been around about 4 years) – The Shire Curly’s Corner Shop was forced to eat his own words – rememberthe “half a dozen hits per day” which he later changed to “around 100 hits per day” comments he made about Mr Monkey’s Blog?

This is what he had to say,

“For a blogger to attract so many visits in such a short period of time is indeed incredible and worthy of congratulations, even more so since the content is mainly of a local nature”.

“One might imagine that visitors are looking at more than one page per visit, perhaps two or three, does this mean page views of more than 100000 per month? This rivals even the Shields Gazette”.

“Curly congratulates you on your undoubted success”.

On 23rd DecemberMr Monkey provided readers with this update CLICK HERE

Mr Monkey has decided to publish an up to date screen grab which includes December and demonstrates how popular Mr Monkey’s Blog has become.

screen-grab-2

Total hits for December 2008 – 31,958

Highest number of hits in a day – 2,151 (13th December)

Highest number of hits in a single week – 10,312 (week 51)

The dip in the graph on the right hand side represents hits for January 2009 which currently stands at 5,907.

With figures like this Mr Monkey might take a leaf out of The Fat Mackem Hobbit’s book by placing a bit of advertising on his site – it’s got to be worth a few bob.

02
Jan
09

Gazette Imposes Pay Freeze

The Gazette’s long term future may be in doubt after it’s parent company imposed a pay freeze on all it’s staff by deferring next year’s basic salary reviews for six months – the company claims that the salary reviews are being deferred a result of the continued severe downturn in advertising.

However, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) accused the company of making its employees “pay for management failure” and “reneging on a number of two- and three-year pay deals that have already been agreed”.

The company’s chief executive, Tim Bowlder said, “Regrettably, in the light of falling revenues and continued uncertainty, this decision is necessary to help safeguard the future of our companies.”

“In six months’ time, we hope our operating companies will be in a better position to determine the impact of the recession and to decide whether or not a salary increase can be afforded. Over the few next weeks, our company [managing directors] will be holding meetings with our employees and trade union representatives to explain the decision and discuss how it impacts local agreements.”

In November, the company announced that revenue from property advertising had plummeted by nearly 50% year on year since the end of August, as the effects of the latest financial crisis hit home.

During the same period employment ads were down by 32.1% year on year across the group, while motoring ads were down 24.3% and display ads down 12.1%.

The NUJ issued a strongly worded statement accusing the company of “appalling financial mismanagement”.

“Our members simply don’t accept that they have to pay the price for corporate failure. It’s incomprehensible that a company which made operating profits of over £178m last year can’t now afford to keep promises to its staff,” said the NUJ general secretary, Jeremy Dear.

“This is all about the appalling financial mismanagement of Johnston Press. The company prided itself on massive and unsustainable profit margins, taking cash out of the business, whilst putting the company in the red.”

“Now as those debts are being called in, managers can be found floundering, without any strategy except to cut back on already stretched editorial budgets.

“The bad faith being shown by the company is unbelievable. We’ll be consulting our members about how they want to respond to the announcement, but anger is already running high so the prospect of action can’t be ruled out.”

The shit being churned out by the likes of Paul Myles Kelly, Terry Kelly, David Maclean, Leah Strug, Lisa Nightingale, Angela Taggart, Andy Hughes and Verity Ward won’t be doing circulation figures much good so it’s hardly suprising advertising revenues at the Gazette are also down year on year.

If you’re stupid enough to waste 42p on a copy of the Gazette you certainly won’t be buying it for it’s news content, it’s not exactly packed with news is it?

But there’s plenty of worthless stories that are of little or no interest to the majority of readers including; a spattering of regurgitated old news (which has often appeared on blogs up to 2 weeks earlier), pages of advertising, an occasional cheap and shoddy competition and the odd ‘giveaway’ – remember the free packet of crisps promotion?

But in these uncertain times you can be sure of one thing – the Gazette will be full of Labour party propaganda, council spin and happy smiley pictures of Labour councillors; most of whom are up for re-election in 2010. You decide whether it’s coincidence, or piss poor editorial control by John Szymanski who appears to be answerable to his new found friends in the council rather than his employer.

Perhaps Mr Szymanski would like to explain to his dwindling readership why the Gazette didn’t publish this story?




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