Navigating her way through often turbulent waters of the news, HMS Victory has once again raised her sails – this time at the new home of The News.
The paper’s editorial, promotions, newspaper sales and advertising teams have unpacked their pink boxes and settled into the paper’s new office at the Lakeside North Harbour Business Park.
It is a massive change for the paper and its staff because, since The News Centre was opened in Hilsea in 1969, the production and printing operations worked side by side.
Now, however, because of the rapidly-changing technology the newspaper industry uses to send the papers to print, the editorial staff do not need to be physically near the giant presses which still rumble in Hilsea.
Editor of The News Mark Waldron said: ‘Our new offices within 1000 Lakeside represent the changing way we do business.
‘Whereas in the 60s we solely produced a newspaper, updated during the day for the latest news from around the region, we now have a website and a smart phone app and offer videos, web chats and podcasts available to download.
‘While the building in Hilsea was an icon, and one we will miss, we are delighted to be among so many other progressive, forward-thinking businesses looking to embrace the challenges of the 21st century.’
The News’s new office faces Portsdown Hill, overlooking so much of the city and surrounding area that the paper has served throughout its centuries-old history.
But while the staff sit in the paper’s new third-floor office rather than in a building of its own, the paper is still at the heart of the community it serves.
‘The News always had and always will have a vital role to play within the heart of the Portsmouth community,’ said Mark.
‘We’re here to tell the story of the people who live and work here.
‘That has always been our fundamental aim, and will remain so, whether the reader gets that story through the pages of the paper, flipping through our iPad app, watching it on our web videos or listening to it on our free podcasts.’
The Lakeside North Harbour Business Park is now 88 per cent occupied, transforming the former IBM building into a hub of activity.
The building and its surrounding land is owned by facilities firm Highcross.
The company’s plans for the business park ultimately comprise around one million square feet of new development, including more office buildings alongside the lake.
The new retail and lifestyle hub in the park’s Central Square is almost fully occupied, with The Southern Co-operative, Starbucks, dry cleaners and a hair salon now open.
A beauty salon will soon join the other firms in the central square, and there will be an official opening, for the public to attend as well as the people who work at Lakeside.
Karen Tyrrell, who manages the site for Highcross, said: ‘That’s the hardest thing to get across, with the retail scheme, is that the shops are open to the general public as well.
‘The official launch will be called Cirque Du Central Square, because the canopy looks like a big top, and will take place in September.’
There are also plans to develop the park further.
A new Porsche retail centre opened at the eastern edge of the business park last summer and a 3.1-acre site has been sold to the De Vere Group for a new resort hotel.
‘Colas will be on site later this week to start working on extending the link road by Porsche which will serve the hotel,’ said Karen.
‘That’s our priority at the moment and it will take about six weeks to complete.
‘We believe the hotel will start being built in the early autumn, and will hopefully be open by Christmas 2014.
‘That will then be the end of the work for us, but I suppose the second part will be looking for firms to come in and build offices between 1000 Lakeside building and the new hotel, either buying the land or leasing it from us to build.’
The News has joined firms such as Warings, Vail Williams, The Southern Co-operative, Verisona, Changes Clinic and Handelsbanken at the 1000 Lakeside building.
Karen, who dyed her hair blue especially to welcome The News to the building, added: ‘It’s lovely to have The News here – it’s like it’s been here for years already.
‘With The News moving in we now only have 25,000 sq ft of office space left, which is a tiddly amount compared to the size of the building.’
The News Centre is to be sold, possibly becoming a mix of housing and shops.
YOU CAN STILL DROP IN
Though The News is now tucked away on a business park, we’re still very much open to the public.
Arthur, Karen and Annetta are in charge of our front counter, which is within the impressive glass reception area of 1000 Lakeside.
Here you can do everything you used to be able to do in our reception office in Hilsea: book classified ads, announce births, deaths and marriages, order back copies, and buy the latest edition of The News.
You can also arrange to speak to a reporter, either within the reception area or in a quiet interview room in the third floor offices.
It’s also the place to go with any general enquiries.
‘We want our readers to know we are just as accessible here as we were in Hilsea, if not more so,’ added Mark Waldron, editor.
He added: ‘This really goes back to what I was saying about our services to our readers remaining the same as they ever were - our commitment to them remains firmly in place.’
The contact details for The News, apart from the paper’s postal address, remain the same. Readers can find the telephone numbers for all our reporters, as well as their email addresses, on page two of The News every day.
The News still has offices within the city centre in Commercial Road, as well as our district offices in Havant, Fareham and Gosport, which are where our district reporters are based.
Now The News is nestled with so many other local firms, both large and small, what better way to move than by using a local moving company?
The paper used the services of Concise, who, over the course of just two weekends, moved first the editorial department, and then the advertising department.
It was a massive operation, and one which required precision and organisation even the navy would have been proud of and every member of staff’s belongings, furniture and equipment.
There was no room for error - from the Saturday edition sent to print from one office, to the Monday edition being sent from an office a mile up the road - as The News had to come out.
Editor Mark Waldron said: ‘The News tries to support local businesses whenever it can, so we were delighted to have Waterlooville-based Concise Removals in to help us relocate.
‘They really did a sterling job, and while there were the inevitable teething problems that moving various bits of technology brings, the new office was ready for us as soon as we needed it and the papers were sent to our press - what we call the web - on time and without a hitch.
‘We’d like to thank the company for their patience, and for handling the huge number of bright pink storage boxes everyone was given to store their belongings.
‘I’d also like to thank all the staff for moving efficiently, patiently and with the type of good humour which sets newspaper offices apart from all others.’
The News has teamed up with Highbury College to launch an exciting new partnership to find the brightest young reporters of tomorrow.
In what will be the first venture of its kind in the UK’s local newspaper industry, journalism students will be trained full-time from a classroom within the newsroom of The News’ new offices at 1000 Lakeside.
The unique initiative will combine the best teaching from Highbury College’s renowned journalism centre along with real, hands-on reporting on The News – the region’s biggest local paper and EDF Energy’s Daily Newspaper of the Year for London and the South Coast.
The search has already begun to find trainee journalists aged under 19 to be the first on the year-long course in September and to follow in the footsteps of huge numbers of News reporters who learnt their trade at Highbury.
Editor Mark Waldron said: ‘I am so excited by the launch of this new venture and the opportunity it will provide for the journalists of tomorrow.
‘Growing up as a wannabe reporter in Cowplain I was lucky enough to carry out work experience at The News and then be trained at Highbury. So combining the best of both worlds – quality training and real, work-based learning in our newsroom – is a fantastic prospect.’
Highbury CEO and principal Stella Mbubaegbu, pictured, added: ‘Highbury has an enviable record of producing some of the finest journalists in the country. Now, in partnership with The News, we want to mould the next generation of top journalists, with a completely new and unique approach to training.’