Trinity Mirror regional cuts signal move to web

By Steven Downes

Trinity Mirror is to cut a further 78 journalists’ jobs on its regional newspapers, it is being reported today.

Amol Rajan, the last editor of The Independent in print, now the BBC’s media editor, tweeted this morning: “Structural challenges faced by newspaper industry are accelerating. Having shut a paper, I don’t report job losses with relish. Tough time for print hacks continues.”

The Holdthefrontpage website is reporting that the introduction of regional print production teams – what have in the past been called “hubs” – by Trinity Mirror will see the axing of 78 jobs, though 44 jobs are to be created, many of them for the company’s web operations, including “17 specifically focusing on video creation and production”.

The announcement is the latest sign of a move to the web: earlier this month, Trinity Mirror launched Football.London, a specialist website, which is employing six sports journalists; more broadly, the shift away from print to online is noticeable in the job ads on the Holdthefrontpage site, where today there is a single vacancy being advertised for “sports journalist”, while there are 18 job ads for “online journalists”.

At Trinity Mirror’s regional newspaper, Holdthefrontpage reports: “No titles will close as a result of the restructure, but the company has confirmed that all its regional operations will be affected.”

Trinity Mirror’s statement said a review of its business had identified “opportunities for greater investment, particularly around digital and content creation, as we look to increase engagement and connect with digital audiences on a larger scale.

“The review of editorial print production has identified examples of best practice that can become standardised across the regions.  As a result, the company is proposing to introduce regional print production teams, sharing resource and best practice to improve efficiency.”

Michelle Stanistreet, the general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said: “News of yet more cuts is a massive blow to journalists working throughout the group who need to be convinced that this new strategy for chasing digital growth is one that will actually yield results and – critically – one that will preserve quality journalism across the group.

“We have posed a number of questions to the company about the restructure and, along with our network of reps, will continue to discuss how we can minimise the number of redundancies and protect our members. A flexible redeployment process will be key to this, to ensure that the skills and experience of journalists whose roles are put at risk are not needlessly lost to the company.

“Another priority for us will be in securing fair treatment for journalists working across the Local World sites – we want fair, commensurate redundancy terms for all. When the public-facing corporate mantra is One Trinity Mirror, the same principles should apply to treatment of staff wherever they happen to work in the group – particularly under a plan that will involve more pooling of resources and merging of operations across the two businesses.”