Selkirk office staying shut but Southern Reporter still open for business

The Southern Reporter’s Selkirk office has become the latest in an ongoing series of workplaces in the Borders to be closed due to the coronavirus crisis.

The Southern Reporter's Tweed Mill Business Park office in Selkirk has been closed.
The Southern Reporter's Tweed Mill Business Park office in Selkirk has been closed.

Our Tweed Mill Business Park office, off Dunsdale Road, had been shut since the introduction of lockdown laws in late March to curb the spread of disease, but it’s now been confirmed that, like our sister paper the Berwickshire News’ base in Berwick and nine others UK-wide, it won’t be reopening.

The closure of our office doesn’t mean the Southern itself is closing, however.

It will continue to be business as what has become usual over the last five months for us, as in working from home.

No jobs are being lost as a result of the office’s closure, though, pending a restructure of our parent company JPiMedia’s Scottish operations later in the year, our former reporter Kathryn Wylie won’t be replaced following her departure at the end of June.

The rest of our news team remains unchanged – myself and reporters Kevin Janiak and Paul Kelly, plus, when she returns from maternity leave in a few weeks’ time, Kirsty Smyth, as well as local democracy reporter Joseph Anderson – and we can all readily be reached via the email addresses given below the bylines on page-lead stories.

Our Selkirk office, briefly based at nearby Ettrick Riverside before relocating and, for many years prior to that, at the Hermitage in High Street, is the last of the old Tweeddale Press offices to shut, following the closures of those in Hawick, Kelso, Jedburgh, Duns and Dunbar over the last 20 or so years.

Explaining the decision to shut it, David King, chief executive of JPiMedia, a successor to Johnston Press, the predecessor company that bought Tweeddale Press in a £7.8m deal in 1999, said: “As the Covid-19 pandemic hit, one of the changes faced by many of us has been the sudden switch to working from home.

“We have all had to adjust to this new way of working, some of us whilst juggling work, childcare and home-schooling, as well as a host of other changes to our normal lives.

“It is a testament to everyone’s hard work and resilience that we have been able to remain so productive during this time.

“We keep our property portfolio under review as a matter of course and, over the last few years, have reduced our footprint significantly, offering flexibility to our employees while still providing quality local news and information to our readers and audiences online.

“Like many businesses, the changes enforced by the current crisis have caused us to carefully consider both our approach to how we work and our future property requirements.

“As part of an overall JPiMedia property strategy launched last year, we were already pursuing a modest agile working approach in many parts of the business.

“The lockdown has shown us that remote working could be beneficial in many more areas of our business.

“Aligning agile working with the review of our property portfolio will help us to better sustain jobs and titles for the longer term.”

Possibly the biggest change for you, our readers, is that we’ll no longer be able to accept handwritten letters as we haven’t got a handy address for you to send them to.

We’ll only be able to use emailed letters – to be sent to [email protected] – going forward, so apologies to the handful of our regular correspondents left still preferring to put pen to paper rather than tapping away at a keyboard.