Johnston Press

Johnston Press plc
Public limited company
Traded as LSE: JPR
Industry Newspapers
Founded 1767
Headquarters London (registered office in Edinburgh, Scotland)
Key people
Ian Russell (Chairman)
Ashley Highfield (CEO)
Revenue £245.1 million (2015)[1]
£1.0 million (2015)[1]
£11.4 million (2015)[1]

Johnston Press plc is a multimedia company based in London with its registered office in Edinburgh. Its flagship titles include national newspaper the i, The Scotsman, the Yorkshire Post, the Falkirk Herald, The News (Portsmouth) and The News Letter in Belfast. The Falkirk Herald was the then Falkirk-based company's first acquisition in 1846. It now also operates around 250 other newspapers and associated websites around the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange.


The Johnston family has been involved in the printing business since 1767. The brothers William and Arthur Keith Johnston founded W. & A. K. Johnston Limited in 1826.[2][3] It bought control of its first newspaper, the Falkirk Herald, in 1846. The company would remain headquartered in Falkirk for the next 150 years. The family publishing company was renamed F Johnston & Co Ltd in 1882, a title it would retain until it was floated on the London Stock Exchange as Johnston Press in 1988.[4] The company's first major acquisition came in 1970, when it took control of the Fife-based publishers Strachan & Livingston.[4] In 1978 it bought Wilfred Edmunds Ltd in Chesterfield, publisher of the Derbyshire Times and The Yorkshire Weekly Newspaper Group in Wakefield.[4]

The Company bought The West Sussex County Times in 1988, The Halifax Evening Courier in 1994 and the newspaper interests of EMAP plc in 1996.[4] Further expansion followed with Portsmouth & Sunderland Newspapers in 1999 and Regional Independent Media Holdings in 2002.[4]

The Company expanded into the Irish market in 2005 by purchasing Local Press Ltd, a company owned by 3i (£65 million),[5] the newspaper assets of Scottish Radio Holdings, known as Score Press with forty-five titles in Scotland and Ireland (£155 million),[6] and the Leinster Leader Group (€138.6 million).[7]

The Company acquired The Scotsman Publications in 2006.[8]

On 7 July 2011, NUJ-represented staff at three Johnston Press titles voted more than 90% in favour of taking strike action.[9] The titles involved were the Doncaster Free Press, the South Yorkshire Times, the Goole Courier and the Selby Times. The dispute stemmed from Johnston Press' announcement in June 2011 of plans to cut 18 jobs including two editors.[10] Following the ballot and the failure to reach a settlement with Johnston Press staff walked out on indefinite strike on 15 July 2011.[11] Despite the strike continuing for several weeks, Johnston Press' Chief Executive John Fry refused the NUJ's request for mediation through Acas.[12] Johnston Press went on to service notice of redundancy upon the South Yorkshire Times editor Jim Oldfield on 8 August 2011. Graeme Huston, of the Doncaster Free Press took over management of the paper, becoming its editor-in-chief.[13] The strike continued until 6 September.[14]

Iconic Newspapers acquired Johnston Press' titles in the Republic of Ireland in 2014.[15]

In March 2014 Johnston Press joined forces with other leading media companies including Local World and Newsquest, to create a nationwide digital advertising proposition called 1XL,[16] which now boasts over 23 million monthly unique users and a billion monthly ad views.[17]

In February 2016 the company announced it was buying i newspaper for £24m.[18] The deal to buy i was completed on 10 April 2016, giving Johnston Press a daily print circulation of over 600,000 newspapers and an audience online and in print of almost 32m people.[19]

In July 2016 it was announced that Tindle Newspapers planned to acquire JP's three Isle of Man titles in a deal worth £4.25m.[20]


British newspapers

The following is a partial list of British newspapers owned by the company:

Irish newspapers

In total, 22 titles are published in Northern Ireland:

Johnston Publishing (NI)

Local (NI)
Free titles (NI)
  • Banbridge & District Weekender
  • Belfast News
  • Craigavon Echo
  • East Antrim Advertiser
  • Lisburn Echo
  • Mid Ulster Echo
  • North West Echo

Derry Journal newspapers

Local (Derry Journal)
Free titles (Derry Journal)
  • City News
  • Foyle News


The company owns the following websites, in addition to newspaper sites as above, and regionalised versions of these:


  1. 1 2 3 "Preliminary Results 2015" (PDF). Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  2.  Rigg, James McMullen (1892). "Johnston, William (1802-1888)". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography. 30. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 70–71.
  3.  Rigg, James McMullen (1892). "Johnston, Alexander Keith (1804-1871)". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography. 30. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 55.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 "History of Johnston Press". Johnston Press plc. Retrieved 10 August 2007.
  5. Newspaper Society Database of Mergers (login required)
  6. West, Karl (22 June 2005). "Johnston Press picks up SRH local newspaper division". The Herald (Glasgow). Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  7. Press Release on Purchase of Leinster Leader Group Archived 8 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. Tryhorn, Chris (19 December 2005). "Johnston Press buys Scotsman". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  9. "Massive vote for action at South Yorkshire Newspapers". NUJ. 7 July 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  10. "Major job cuts announced at Johnston Press titles - Journalism News from". HoldtheFrontPage. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  11. "Journalists on indefinite strike over newspaper job cuts". BBC News. 19 July 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  12. "Johnston Press chief says no to ACAS mediating strike | Media news". 4 August 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  13. "Outspoken editor receives notice of redundancy". HoldtheFrontPage. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  14. "Johnston Press journalists back to work". BBC. 7 September 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  15. "Johnston Press sells its 14 titles in the Republic". Irish Times. Archived from the original on 9 April 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
  16. "Johnston Press, Local World and Newsquest unite for 1XL digital sell". Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  17. "1XL - Local Potency Nationally Delivered". Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  18. "Johnston Press to buy i newspaper for £24m". BBC. 12 February 2016. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  19. "Financial Results 2015". Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  20. Mayhew, Freddy (4 July 2016). "Tindle Newspapers buys three Isle of Man titles from Johnston Press in deal worth £4.25m". Press Gazette.
  21. Our Business: Johnston (Falkirk) Ltd, Johnston Press plc Archived 17 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
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