It is good news for the Kent Messenger — despite shrinking newspaper sales nationwide, revenues are up and for the third year running most staff say they are proud to be part of the group.
Edwin Boorman, chairman and grandson of the man who built the chronicle into Kent’s leading weekly paper, is a popular leader: 79% of staff praise his energy, and he has been known to open his home to employees for a barbecue, and the doors of his Bentley to take newlyweds from church.
The Kentish Gazette was launched in 1717, and the Kent Messenger in 1859. Now there are 31 newspapers, five other publications, a news website (www.kentonline.co.uk) and five radio stations in the group.
There is a fun atmosphere at the 19 offices in Kent and London — 82% of staff say they have a laugh and 79% say their team is fun to work with. A similar number feel work is an important part of their lives, they can make a valuable contribution to the firm’s success — and would miss it if they left.
In the past year, sales have grown from £35m to £38.6m and the company added almost 50 to its workforce. Although wages are modest, bonuses include champagne and Marks & Spencer vouchers. Holiday ranges from 25 to 30 days; the company matches pension contributions of up to 3% of salary and is more generous thereafter. It gives five days of paid secondment to local charities — last year 3.5% of profits went to good causes.
There are awards to recognise achievements and one project group was taken by limo to have lunch at The Ivy in London. Journalists like a drink or two, and happy hour at the staff bar is very popular.
Small wonder 86 people have been with the firm for more than 20 years. According to the personnel manager, Amanda Watts: “It is just the best place to work.”
Male to Female ratio:
Number of Staff:
Under 35 to Over 55 Ratio: