Sunday, December 15, 2013
PAUL CARTER - MANAGING DIRECTOR OF GUITON PUBLISHING - REPLIES TO MY POSTING
"PAUL CARTER.MANAGING DIRECTOR OF GUITON PUBLISHING REPLIES TO MY LAST BLOG POSTING - "THE JERSEY EVENING POST - IS THE WRITING ON THE WALL????"
"BELOW IS A REDACTED VERSION OF THE LETTER SENT BY PAUL CARTER"
Let us cut straight to the chase here. I thought long and hard about publishing his not for 'publication' reply to me. The fact that he sent his reply to my place of work is not satisfactory. In fact, I take that it as a form of intimidation. Should I be surprised that I get a response from the JEP when I mention the possibility of them selling below 13,000 copies and be published only 4 days a week? I mean, lets not talk about their Child Abuse Cover -UP of "Operation Rectangle" and the denigration of SIO, Lenny Harper, the zero investigative journalism, never delivering any ground breaking stories that are of any benefit to the people of Jersey, running Philip Bailhache's election campaign by sticking him on the front page during the run up to election and calling SIO, Mick Gradwell a whistleblower for helping Daily Mail Journalist, David Rose trash the Jersey Child Abuse Investigation. The list could go on and on.
What exactly did I say in my last posting that really ruffled the feathers of Mr Carter?
Well this is what I said in my last posting.
"THE JERSEY EVENING POST"
"A DIFFICULT ROAD AHEAD"
"IT MUST CHANGE - BUT CAN IT?"
There can be no doubt that the Jersey Evening Post - Jersey's only newspaper- is facing a very difficult future. I was talking to the Editor designate, Andy Sibcy, this week and we touched on this subject. I told him that it was an obvious fact that the "JEP" was in trouble. The sales are dropping, advertisers are moving elsewhere, no investigative journalists, repeating what they are told and only a very few believing what is written in it. We have new magazines coming out now who are in competition with the JEP for advertising. Estate Agents are bringing out their own glossy pamphlets and Jersey Insight are in a league of there own. Times are changing and they are changing fast. The printed news is facing a battle that is intensifying by the month.
Andy Sibcy will taking the helm with the perfect storm brewing on the horizon. Can he make a difference?
The new generation are the computer generation. They go online for their news. Sales would suggest that they no longer view the JEP as an important or necessary news source. Maybe, and I mean just maybe, could the JEP under new leadership start properly representing the people of Jersey. Not reporting the news but investigating the news. This obviously comes with it's own problems as it is subsidised through advertising by our own government. Can the new Editor be his own man? In Jersey I very much doubt it. I look forward to being proved wrong.
Times are changing and they are changing fast.
Are we about to see sales fall below 13,000 a day and the paper being reduced to 4 days a week.
They have some big decisions to make.
Is the writing now on the wall for the JEP?
HERE IS THE REPLY FROM PAUL CARTER.
Jersey Evening Post
PRIVATE AND PERSONAL - ADDRESSEE ONLY
11 December, 2013
I understand that you are interested in investigative journalism and, while it is good to have a productive hobby, I do think that you should at least make a small effort to achieve some sort of balance for your readers and not just the blind pursuit of your own agenda, leading you to present disinformation as fact.
You claim as an "obvious fact" that the JEP is in trouble, you claim a conversation with Editor designate Mr Sibcy but then only offer what you said to him, not his response or reaction?
From this you deduce that the JEP is no longer relevant as audience go online for their news (but no reference to who will be supplying this?) and that any changes will be difficult due to the JEP being subsidised with government advertising.
The fact is that the JEP is a privately owned business with no ties to Jersey Government and, unlike other small democratic jurisdictions, has no financial incentives in place from the government to ensure it's survival. The SOJ do place advertising within the newspaper and online platforms provided by the JEP but on a contracted basis and at the same rates and terms and conditions as any commercial advertiser. They do this because, despite a myriad of alternatives and competitor media outlets, the JEP represents excellent value for money and has a deeper penetration of Jersey than TV and Radio combined, it is trusted, it is respected and it is proven. As an aside, the impact of SOJ revenues to the JEP equate to less than **** of annual group turnover, something to contemplate when constructing conspiracy theories about alleged "State Media".
The JEP's audited copy sales figures (by an independent industry authority) are widely available and a quick reference to Google would have provided you with the undeniable fact that the average daily sale is, according to the most recent independently audited trading period, 17,076 copies per day, of which 97.6% are paid for and the remainder are free/courtesy or promotional copies. It would also show that the decline, year on year, was -***%. Perhaps you might compare this with similar sized populations in the UK to put it in context?
The second half-year period is still under audit but, last week, for instance, the JEP's bestselling day was **,**** copies and the second bestselling day was **,*** copies. It is highly likely that the rate of decline we saw in the first half of the year will regrettably be repeated in the second half of the year but this is still a long way from your proclaimed 13,000 copies per day, or four days per week publishing.
The new generation, that you appear so concerned might never grow up with the JEP as their media choice, already enjoy our platforms online and we already serve ***,*** unique users across our various online offerings with over 1.5m page views per month. Our social media platforms are supported by **,*** registered followers (growing daily) and these aren't zombie sites that just harvest numbers for the sake of it, they are constantly updated and enjoy interaction and two-way dialogue with our membership.
Compare these numbers with Channel Online, BBC Jersey, JT Insight etc and then reconsider your statement.
The writing isn't on the wall for the JEP, It's in our newsprint, devoured by over 60% of adults daily (independently audited research), it's on PC's, Tablets, and smart phones all over the island and even further afield. Our traditional business model might be changing (whose isn't?) but the reach and influence of our content has potential for growth as digital develops.
You mention in your blog that you look forward to being proved wrong about your assumptions regarding the JEP and considering the litany of half-truths, errors and misinformation in your posting I think it is safe to say that this is the job done.
This letter is not for publication or distribution but I urge you to do your own research and then address the misinformation in your posting, like any self-respecting investigative journalist, part time or otherwise, would do.
Please do not misinterpret this letter as the beginning of an exchange; please view this as the conclusion. I have no intention of debating or discussing this business with you, unless of course you continue to wilfully misrepresent your own personal assumptions about the JEP as a matter of fact.
Managing Director, Guiton Publishing Ltd, Jersey Evening Post Ltd
Here is my reply Mr Carter.
First up, Mr Sorda would have been a nice way of addressing me. Never forget ones manners even if a little upset.
I had an off the record chat with JEP Editor, Andy Sibcy. I thought it was only right and polite not to divulge what he said to me. At no time did I say to him that our conversation would be used in a blog posting. For this reason and this reason alone I never mentioned his replies. If you had phoned or spoken with Mr Sibcy before writing your letter you would have realised this to be the case. The economic climate in Jersey is changing very quickly. The competition for advertising and the amount people are spending on advertising is very competitive and in some cases dwindling.
I can't speak for everyone, but the people I speak to are looking for proper news - not some regurgitated no questions asked press release delivered on a daily basis. You have offered up a wealth of stats and figures but the one stat that would have stopped me in my tracks would have been the stat for big breaking stories. Big breaking stories achieved through investigative journalism. Yet we have nothing. You couldn't even be bothered to check why I didn't mention what Andy Sibcy had said to me.
You say "As an aside, the impact of SOJ revenues to the JEP equate to less than 1.3% of annual group turnover, something to contemplate when constructing conspiracy theories about alleged "State Media"."
Well let me tell you this Mr Carter; the Jersey Evening Post has failed. It has failed the people of jersey.
I have published more hard documented evidence in two years than the JEP has produced in the last two decades. The Jersey Blogs have investigated, researched and published more evidence than the JEP has probably ever produced. It is the attitude in this letter that has me worried as to the future of the Jersey Evening Post. I have never been contacted by anyone from the Jersey Evening Post/Guiton Group concerning the multitude of hard evidenced and leaked documents that have appeared on my blog which one would expect from any self respecting journalist. The one time I do get contacted by anyone from the Guiton Group is to complain of the statistics of their dwindling readership.
I'm not sure if Mr Carter is a journalist but I wish he had not misquoted me. I clearly asked the question "Are we about to see sales fall below 13,000 a day and the paper being reduced to 4 days a week."
Mr Carter stated "It is highly likely that the rate of decline we saw in the first half of the year will regrettably be repeated in the second half of the year but this is still a long way from your proclaimed 13,000 copies per day, or four days per week publishing." As you can clearly see I didn't proclaim anything I simply asked the question.
The reason for the redaction above is that some of the figures mentioned above are not in the public domain and will remain so. The tone of the letter is there for all to see. like I said, I don't appreciate a letter being sent to my place of work when the Jersey Evening Post have my email address. I will leave it to the readers of my blog to come to their own conclusions.
The only reasons I'm publishing this letter as it is of great public interest. Remember we only have one newspaper in Jersey. I'm not sure that 60% of the adult population "devour" what the JEP dish up but who am I to argue that point.
Part Time Investigative Journalist
Links to the blogs that the passed the Jersey Evening Post investigative journalist team.