90 jobs go in Independent ‘restructuring’

The Press Gazette is reporting today that the Independent newspaper group is to axe 90 jobs in the new year, in the latest round of cost-cutting at the papers, in a move where cut-backs will come from all departments, but particularly editorial. It seems almost inevitable that this will include sport.

This follows’s report earlier that the Daily Telegraph is facing a cut in pagination – and therefore freelance commissions – in 2009, while the Express is cutting 80 sub-editor jobs and the Daily Mail group is expected to announce its own cuts later this week. Last week, we reported that the London Evening Standard, part of the Daily Mail and General Trust group, had made three members of its sports desk redundant.

The cuts at the Independent are part of a “restructuring” aimed at saving £10 million from titles which are losing circulation and which have diminishing ad revenues. The Independent‘s sports desk cut several posts earlier this year, in some cases merging together previously separate posts on the daily and Sunday titles.

Today, the Independent group said it plans for “greater integration” between the two papers, with a “more efficient use of technology” enabling the papers to “streamline their production processes” to save on staff numbers.

Simon Kelner, a former sports editor now managing director of Independent News and Media, spent Sunday with his wife and with Roger Alton, the Independent‘s editor, at Cheltenham races, where the newspaper was sponsoring a steeplechase. Today Kelner said: “As a management team, we would have been irresponsible had we not reacted to the economic conditions affecting every media business in the world by looking at our cost base.

“These changes will be instrumental in helping to secure the future of these great newspapers.”

The National Union Journalists – which says that the Independent titles arealready operating on 75 per cent of former staffing levels – said it would meet management at INM on Thursday to discuss the proposals.

For more on the Telegraph story and previous reports on newspaper cuts, click here.

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