Brighton Argus cuts put 10 journalists' jobs at risk

The Argus in Brighton has announced plans to make 10 journalists redundant, with the merging of its two daily editions and the closure of weekly sister title Sports Argus.

Staff at the Sussex daily were told on Friday of the proposals, which Press Gazette understands will see the editorial team shrink from 79 to 69 – a cut of more than 10 per cent.

The move comes after US newspaper giant Gannett, the parent company of Argus publisher Newsquest, reported last month that classified revenues in the UK had fallen almost 15 per cent in the past year. Recruitment and motors advertising also saw double-digit declines.

A senior Argus journalist told Press Gazette that staff on the title had yet to be told which areas would be affected by the cuts.

‘We’ve been told that the job cuts could come from anywhere in editorial,’he said. ‘That’s as specific as they’ve been about it.”

He added: ‘The guys [at the Sports Argus] feel most at risk because they’re the ones who know with certainty that one of their products is under threat.”

Sports Argus is published every Saturday as a standalone paper with a 60p cover price. It recorded a circulation of 2,663 in the latest set of regional newspaper ABCs, covering the last half of 2007.

Press Gazette understands that, under the proposals, the last edition of the 32-page title will be printed on Saturday 16 August.

At the same time, The Argus’s two daily editions – covering the city of Brighton and Hove and the wider county of Sussex – will be combined, creating one edition, printed overnight.

In a statement, Newsquest Sussex managing director Martyn Willis said the proposed cuts were a reaction to ‘the current economic climate”.

‘It is crucial that the company continually reviews its business efficiency and these proposals have been announced as part of that process,’he said.

‘In the event they go ahead, we will try to minimise the impact through voluntary redundancy and redeployment to alternative positions.”

In May this year, The Argus outsourced most of its pre-press work and advertising design to India – a move which led to around 20 job losses.

And last October, the daily commuter freesheet Argus Lite was reduced to a weekly, available from local rail stations on Friday mornings.

Gannett is due to publish details of its second quarter earnings, including a breakdown of Newsquest’s performance, on Wednesday morning.

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