UPDATED: Future of Angus papers brought up at Holyrood

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The future of local press in Angus was raised at Holyrood this morning (Thursday) by the MSP for South Angus.

Graeme Dey SNP MSP for Angus South raised his concerns at the Scottish Parliament following an announcement by Johnston Press, owners of Angus County Press, that it had reclassified its titles in a rebranding move.

The Angus County Press titles are Arbroath Herald, Guide & Gazette, Forfar Dispatch, Kirriemuir Herald, Brechin Advertiser and Montrose Review and the Stornoway Gazette in the Western Isles.

Johnston Press owns a significant portion of Scotland’s weekly newspapers.

The announcement has raised questions in the industry as well as in the community about the future of JP’s weekly newspaper titles in Angus and further afield.

Posting on his Facebook page Mr Dey said: “Managed to raise concerns over the future of a number of weekly newspapers titles, including several in Angus, at First Minister’s Questions today.

“I welcome the commitment made by the First Minister that the Scottish Government will engage with Johnston Press, who have declared that 21 of their Scottish based titles are ‘sub-core’ to their business.

“Included amongst these are the Arbroath Herald and the papers in Forfar, Montrose and Brechin.

“I will be writing to Johnston Press on how they view the futures of these titles and where the Guide & Gazette and Kirrie Herald stand in all of this.”

A spokesman for Johnston Press said: “We want to make sure our titles are serving their communities effectively and - like every business - profitably. With this is mind we have recently undertaken a review of all of our titles to see which ones need immediate attention and these are in what we have called, internally, our ‘sub-core’ group.

“That does not automatically mean we’re about to close or sell these titles and the media reaction has greatly exaggerated our intentions.”