Eleven editorial jobs are under threat at the Leicester Mercury with owners Northcliffe Media blaming a 45 per cent fall in ad revenue in the last five years.
The company said that circulation revenue was down 30 per cent during the same period, prompting it to look at ‘both the organisation and working practices of the newsroom’to see how it can operate ‘more effectively and efficiently”.
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‘Our guiding principle has been to protect the newspapers’ ability to produce high quality content,’the company said.
‘As a result of this review, subject to consultation, we believe up to 11 roles in editorial are at risk of redundancy. The changes are essential to ensure we have a viable and vibrant business moving forward with a cost base to take advantage of the opportunities in the market.”
NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser Chris Morley said: “This is an appalling attack on journalists and journalism at the Leicester Mercury, by a company that does not care what damage it causes.
‘Northcliffe’s newspapers are among the worst performing in the country, not because of the heroic efforts of staff, but because they have suffered the biggest cuts in editorial staffing and resources. The parent group Daily Mail General Trust seems to have washed its hands of its regional newspaper stable.”
Northcliffe has been by a spate of senior departures in recent months including the Mercury’s former editor Keith Perch last October.
Morley added: ‘Experienced and loyal editors have jumped ship throughout Northcliffe in recent months, including at Leicester.
‘In many cases, I suspect, because they know that the cuts being made will make their newspapers unsustainable and cannot stomach them.
‘That leaves journalists at the mercy of the grey suit accountants who know next to nothing about the benefits to a newspaper business of quality journalism.”
In December the Mercury launched a new-look weekend edition which saw the Saturday cover price rise from 40p to 60p.
The latest figures for the Leicester Mercury show a 8.6 per cent drop in circulation in the first six months of 2011 to 51,150.