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Dec. 1, 2021, 11:10 a.m.
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LINK: pressgazette.co.uk  ➚   |   Posted by: Laura Hazard Owen   |   December 1, 2021

You know they mean it when they start reducing their office space: The UK regional publisher Archant will close 8 of its 12 offices by March, PressGazette reported Wednesday. “We have seen, time and again, from staff survey feedback and the very low numbers of employees who choose to come into our offices, that for the majority of people, home working is a preferred choice,” a company spokesperson said.

Archant publishes four daily newspapers — The East Anglian Daily Times, Eastern Daily Press, Norwich Evening News, and Ipswich Star — and around 150 weekly newspapers and magazines across the UK.

Reach, the UK’s largest newspaper publisher — it owns titles like the Daily Mirror and Daily Express — had previously announced that it would be closing three-quarters of its offices and that announced that most of its staff would permanently work from home.

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism recently surveyed “132 senior industry leaders from 42 countries” and found that 24% of them had already cut office space, with another 16% planning to do so.

Here in the U.S., the messaging around closing physical newsrooms for print papers has been a little less “It’s because our staff loves it!” and a little more “It’s because things are really bad.” Tribune Publishing closed five physical newsrooms last year in what it described as a “difficult decision.” This year, vulture fund Alden Global Capital acquired Tribune. It appears unlikely that Alden will reopen any of the newsrooms. This week, the Tribune-owned Baltimore Sun announced that it is likely to shut down its printing presses; it’s unclear what will happen to its newsroom.

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