Brighton newspaper sold to national chain

Posted On 03 Jul 2015 at 5:25 pm

The Brighton and Hove Independent newspaper has been sold to Johnston Press, which owns a chain of local newspapers across the country.

Johnston Press chief executive Ashley Highfield tweeted news of the deal this afternoon (Friday 3 July).

He said: “Johnston Press announces that we’ve concluded a deal to buy the Brighton and Hove Independent.”

The Independent is run by Mark Ansell and Greg Hadfield. It was set up as Love Brighton before changing its name.

The free weekly operates from an office at the Hilton Brighton Metropole and distributes more than 13,000 copies a week from 300 places throughout Brighton and Hove.

Mr Highfield said: “It’s a great title with a superb reputation with both readers and advertisers.

“It’s a small but terrific team – who produce an excellent newspaper and website – and we’re very happy to have them on board.”

Mr Ansell, who founded the Independent’s in 2011, said: “It’s a landmark day for us. We started Brighton and Hove Independent with an ambition to change the media landscape, to do things differently.

“Being part of Johnston Press will allow Brighton and Hove Independent to fast-track growth, to provide even more comprehensive coverage for the city and to go from strength to strength.”

Mr Hadfield, the Independent’s editorial director, said: “This is a big step forward.

“It means we will be in a much stronger position to deliver a newspaper that our city truly deserves.”

The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Johnston Press owns 13 paid-for daily newspapers, 195 paid-for weekly newspapers and 40 free titles.

Its Sussex papers including the Worthing Herald, the Eastbourne Herald, the Sussex Express, the Mid Sussex Times and the Hastings Observer series.

Nationally, its stable includes the Yorkshire Post, the Scotsman and the Sheffield Star.

  1. Gzunder Reply

    We can only hope that the new owners will be a little less partisan over local politics. Just because you went to uni with Mrs Lequise Savages husband should not mean we have to endure green drivel on nearly every page.

  2. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    This should make the Argus even more worried. That is a terrible newspaper which allows all manner of wild allegations in its “readers’ comments”.

    • Gerald Wiley Reply

      @Christopher – if the allegations are wild AND inaccurate then why don’t you report them, or alternatively respond with your version of “the truth”.

      I’m just interested to see whether The Brighton and Hove Independent can really stay “Independent” (if it ever was as @Gzunder implies), or whether like most other publications has marketing considerations.

      One reason The Argus is so popular is that reader’s comments are not vetoed by the magazine editors, as has happened to me on this web site.

      • Joe Stains Reply

        They won’t allow comments on any articles regarding gypsies…

        • Gerald Wiley Reply

          True – but I think this, and also reports on criminal cases, are the only topics that any comments are not allowed in ‘The Argus’. For other topics, as long as it is not abusive, it seems ‘anything goes’ and individuals can report posts they are unhappy with.

          Here on B&H News there is no way to up/down vote a comment or report it – all you can (now) do is reply to another comment.

          In my case I made some (I thought hysterical) comments here about the meanderings of Christopher Hawtree on twitter when he decided to stand as Green Party MP candidate for the Hove and Portslade seat and was told they were not allowed as my comments were ‘mean’ and were deleted by the reporter that had posted the original story.

          How delicate potential MPs are these days that people can’t point fun at their public comments on twitter.

          What about all the problems with Ben Duncan and his postings?

          • Hjarrs

            But you are mean spirited and from your postings over a long period of time, I doubt most people would consider you spiteful, not “pointing fun”.

            And a correction. The Argus is not popular, it is in possible terminal decline, sales dropping year on year, it’s comments board with no more than a few dozen contributors. For many years it has stayed in its comfort zone of writing for a older and socially conservative audience, it has been politically partisan and it has alienated the progressives in the city, a fair chunk of its potential readership.

            The Indy is an odd paper, I like the fact that it gives voice to people across the political spectrum and, unlike the Argus, it also does a bit of journalism for local politics, not just slanting stories.

          • Clive

            The Argus circulation is now below 14,000 overall, with sales of less than 4,600 in the B+H city boundaries.

            Hope the Independent remains so in spirit. It is a brave move to set up a new newspaper, but the poor quality of just about everything associated with the Argus meant that there was a great business opportunity waiting to be exploited.

            I am surprised that right-wing types aren’t citing the Indie as a fine example of entrepreneurial success, rather than bleating about its editorial line.

          • Gerald Wiley

            @HJarrs – I mean “The Argus” is popular in terms of the number of people commenting and the number of comments posted – over here it is rare to see more than a couple of comments.

            In terms of my comment on Brighton’s Salmon Rushdie, I would suggest you have a look at his twitter feed and see what you think about his postings.

            You may count me as ‘spiteful’ – I just have a deep hatred of the green party and their loyal disciples spouting forth their juvenile left-wing ideological party political messages and spreading misinformation about how wonderful the green party was.

            I note that your old friend Christopher Hawtree hasn’t responded and we have to make do with you instead.

            What is your view on the gipsy situation as a result of the policy Phelim pushed through 4 years ago?

            I agree that the Indy is an ‘odd paper’ – I just wonder if it really has been the success you and Clive suggest being given out for free, or more likely that they have had to ‘sell out’ to Johnston Press in order to survive.

            I wonder what caused this to happen just after the greens lost control of the council?

  3. Brighton boy Reply

    It’s good for lighting my bq , always get 10 copies every week to burn

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