Your Noon Briefing: Johnston Press financial results, General Election coverage; etc

BEGINS the website, DailyBusiness: “Johnston Press, owner of The Scotsman titles, the Falkirk Herald and the Yorkshire Post, posted another loss for the year, but saw its underlying operations improve.

“The London-based company reduced its pre-tax loss from £291.4 million to £23.9m and cut its debt from £302m to £184.6m.

“Group revenue continued to slide, down a further 7.3 per cent from £290m to £268.8m, although total underlying revenue of £265.9m declined 4.4 per cent for the period, reducing the rate of decline from 5.2 per cent in 2013 and 7.4 per cent in 2012.

“Total advertising revenue was down 4.7 per cent to £165.7m, print advertising declined 8.7 per cent to £136.9m while digital revenues were up 20 per cent.

“Chief executive, Ashley Highfield, said he was ‘excited about the future’.”

Read more, here.

Meanwhile, The Guardian’s reporting of the figures – which cover 53 weeks up to January 3 – begins: “Johnston Press has reported a pre-tax loss of £23.9m for last year, and announced a lucrative deal to print Richard Desmond’s Express and Star titles in the north of England.

“The regional newspaper publisher, which racked up a pre-tax loss of £287m in 2013, due to cutting the carrying value of its titles and printing facilities, reported total revenues of £268.8m, a 7.3 per cent decline.

“On an underlying basis, stripping out the extra 53rd week included in last year’s results, Johnston Press said that total revenues dropped by just 4.4 per cent. This marks a third year of improvement compared with 2013’s fall of 5.2% and 2012’s 7.4 per cent.

“At an operating level, profits rose by 2.2 per cent from £54.3m to £55.5m, a second year-on-year rise.

“Digital revenues rose by 20 per cent, rising from £24m to £28.8m. Combined print and digital advertising revenue was down 4.2 per cent to £167.2m last year.

“Newspaper sales revenue fell 4.8 per cent from £81.8m to £77.9m.

“Johnston Press said that it reached the ‘digital tipping point’ – where revenues last year were more than those in 2013 in a category, in a publishing unit, in a given month – 290 times.

Read more, here.

And view the figures direct, here, on the Johnston Press website.

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THE Herald’s Doug Gillon was among a handful of Scots entries to be highly commended at an awards ceremony celebrating the best of UK sports journalism.

Gillon was highly commended in the Regional Writer category of the Sports Journalism Awards 2014, run by the Sports Journalists’ Association of Great Britain, while Hazel Irvine was a highly commended in the Broadcast Sports Presenter category.

They were joined by photographer, Ian MacNicol (highly commended in the Sports Portfolio category) and by Edinburgh University student, Alex Walker (highly commended in the David Welch Student Sports Writer category).

The SJA Sports Newspaper of the Year prize went to the Daily Mail. Until recently, the paper’s sports editor was Les Snowdon, former Scotland on Sunday editor and now editor of the Scotland edition of The Times.

Read more, here.

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BEGINS an announcement (here) from BBC Scotland: “BBC Scotland will break new ground during this year’s General Election, broadcasting live for the first time in its history from all the count centres that will declare the 59 constituency results in Scotland.

“The broadcaster [yesterday] announced it would be reporting live from the 32 count centres for its through-the-night results programmes and services on TV, radio and online as it released details of its ambitious plans to cover the General Election.

“In addition to the election night specials from BBC Scotland’s centre in Glasgow presented by Glenn Campbell, Brian Taylor and Jackie Bird on BBC One Scotland and Isabel Fraser and Bill Whiteford on BBC Radio Scotland, the broadcaster will feature debates, breaking news and in-depth analysis and interviews throughout the campaign. Sarah Smith will feature prominently for the BBC One network results programme from Scotland.”

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A SELECTION of short films are being screened this evening and tomorrow at the Edinburgh Filmhouse, the films (including animation) all from the EE British Academy Film Awards.

Specifically, tomorrow’s screening will be followed by a Q&A with BAFTA winners, Ainslie Henderson and Will Anderson, directors of Monkey Love Experiments.

For more information, email here.

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HOW the media reported the ‘liberation’ of Iraq 12 years ago is the subject of two public meetings – one in Dundee, the other in Glasgow.

With well-known journalists, Lesley Riddoch (Dundee) and Joyce McMillan (Glasgow) chairing the events, the speakers are Jihad Ballout, Al Jazeera’s media relations and comms manager (2001-2005); Diar Al Umari, Al Jazeera’s Baghdad bureau chief (2000 -2003); Andrew Panay, sociology lecturer at Abertay University; Dr Emma Briant, Sheffield University; and Alison Balharry, editor for BBC Radio 4 at US Central Command in Qatar, 2003

The Dundee event is on the tenth of next month (click here, for ticket details), with the Glasgow event the day after (click here, for ticket details).

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BEGINS the standfirst to an article by Jim Black, on the website, “Hey, folks, I’ve found the perfect football club. The Staggies [Ross County FC] have an amazing fan base, a progressive and outspoken chairman, a really brave manager – and a PR machine that never falters.”

Read more, here.

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SEEN anything you think readers of should be made aware of? Then just send the weblink to here and we’ll do the rest. All suggestions gratefully received. We’re back at noon tomorrow.