The JEP and Bailiwick Express have now completed their merger, following receipt of regulatory approval, and the signing of the necessary commercial documentation.
Both news brands will remain, and retain their different editorial voices; but both will have access to a much deeper pool of resources, something that will help them continue to publish the stories which really matter to Islanders, and provide the commercial services which advertisers require.
The combined local media business is now owned by the existing shareholders of Bailiwick Express, together with members of the board, bringing the JEP back into local ownership for the first time in more than 20 years.
The company will also be setting up an Employee Benefit Trust in order to make sure its staff have a shareholding, and will be broadening that ownership further in the coming years.
Jersey Evening Post managing director Matt Ross commented: ‘We’re really pleased that we can now proceed with a positive new chapter for two respected and trusted local news brands.
‘As part of an ongoing plan to broaden our local ownership, we will make a portion of the shares in the new business available to our staff; the media industry internationally is going through a period of massive change, with a number of global factors severely impacting local operations. We believe that firstly uniting with a complementary business, and then broadening our local ownership, is the best way to secure our successful future.’
James Filleul, co-founder, managing director and editor of Bailiwick Express, added: ‘Since we announced the merger, perhaps the most common feedback has been from Islanders wanting to make sure both news brands will remain. We understand that – one of the main reasons we are coming together is to make sure that actually happens.
‘A strong, well-resourced, local newsroom is hard to sustain in the current media environment, which has very significant recruitment and commercial pressures. But it is essential. Bringing the JEP’s team together with Express will allow us to do that, and deliver the journalism which really matters to people, while also combining our digital knowledge and experience.’
Bailiwick Express launch-ed in 2014 in Jersey as a digital newspaper, with a Guernsey edition following in 2018. It also broadcasts Bailiwick Radio online and on DAB+, and publishes Connect magazine in Jersey and Guernsey, along with a weekly selection of news podcasts.
The JEP is one of Jersey’s best-known brands and has been at the heart of Island life for more than 132 years. In 2021, it was crowned Newspaper of the Year in the prestigious Society of Editors Regional Newspaper of the Year awards, an accolade which followed the Magazine of the Year title the previous year for its ecoJersey publication. Now a digital as well as a print publisher, the JEP’s portfolio includes a diverse selection of titles. It also organises a number of community events, including the Pride of Jersey awards, the Parish Clean-up and Leadership Jersey talks.