Johnston Press dumps lead digital role

LONDON - Johnston Press is operating without a director of digital publishing after deciding not to replace John Bradshaw, who retired last month.

Roger Parry, chairman of Johnston Press
Roger Parry, chairman of Johnston Press

The regional publisher has instead assigned his duties to the newly appointed digital strategy director, Lori Cunningham, while remaining digital responsibilities are now being handled by other members of the company's central digital team.

Cunningham joined in March with official responsibility for leading the group's digital strategy.
She was previously vice-president of strategy with AOL UK and head of new business at Net-A-Porter.com.

Johnston Press operates 323 local websites to complement its regional newspaper portfolio and has an estimated online audience of 8.2 million users a month.

In its last trading statement, released in December 2007, the company's digital revenues increased 34% to £15.1m, with a 24% annual rise in unique users.

In 2007, the company doubled its annual spend on digital to £9m, which led to the increase in its digital development team as well as the launch of a digital-only sales operation in London.

At the time, the company said its future digital strategy includes plans to embed digital services for each local publication, plus a restructuring to allow it to deliver new services such as mobile phone news via stand-alone projects or via partnerships.

Last month, Johnston Press chief executive Tim Bowdler secured the company's immediate future by raising almost £170m from a rights issue.

This follows a deal in May to sell a 20% stake in the company to Malaysian media company Usaha Tegas.

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