Trinity Mirror announce cuts & restructuring in the latest blow to local news provision
13 September 2017
The NUJ has reacted with alarm to news that Trinity Mirror is cutting up to 40 jobs in daily and weekly local newspapers. Journalists working at the affected titles were told of the plans yesterday and reacted with dismay.
The company’s proposals include greater regionalisation, cuts to print production, and expanding generic content across newspapers. Specific proposals include increasing standardisation, shared content and design across all titles, and using centrally-produced national and international news pages supplied by the Press Association.
The company have said they intend to "ramp up" and recruit "new community content curators", develop a "regionalised production approach", and "end print production" in specific areas. The restructuring plans also include creating up to 15 new roles but the details remain unclear.
In the North West of England the company has announced it will discontinue print production in Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales. This will be replaced with two sites based in Liverpool and Colwyn Bay. The company has indicated its intention to move to just one site in Liverpool in future and this will cover all local newspaper print production in the North West.
Messages sent to staff yesterday announced ending print production in Chester by October, establishing a regional centre in the East Midlands resulting in redundancies in Leicester, plus further cuts in Huddersfield, Newcastle, Coventry and Birmingham. It has also been confirmed that up to 5 print production roles could be lost in Cheltenham.
The union is calling for urgent talks with the company and is taking steps to clarify the plans that have been announced.
Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said:
"Jargon about a ‘more synchronised approach’ and ‘aligning design structures’ can’t hide the fact that these are bad old fashioned job cuts affecting several Trinity Mirror centres around the country. More generic content across the titles and an increase in user generated content if it is at the expense of other coverage such as courts and councils, means short-changing local readers. Our members will be asking what evidence the company has that these further cuts will lead to success."
Jane Kennedy, NUJ assistant regional organiser, said:
"In announcing at short notice yet another round of redundancies Trinity Mirror has again awarded hardworking journalists not with praise or reward but the prospect of losing their job. For some they are being asked to relocate to a different town with just over a months’ notice. Once again the regard and understanding of local journalism for local people is sadly lacking."
Martin Shipton, chair of Trinity Mirror group chapel, said:
"We are very concerned at the implications of these further cuts. Having more content produced centrally risks damaging the individual identity of the papers. The main selling point of regional and local papers remains their regional and local content. Watering that down is a self-defeating strategy."