Editors, production journalists and photographers at risk as CN Group seeks to cut editorial budget by £600k

CN Group has announced plans to reduce its annual editorial costs by £600,000, with editors, production journalists and photographers at risk.

Under the plans, Carlisle's News and Star, the Workington Times and Star and the Whitehaven News will have one editor. Each currently has its own editor.

In addition, the group is seeking to cut the number of sub-editing and photography roles. According to Holdthefrontpage, a third of 21 production roles are likely to go and the two editor positions are also at risk.

The News and Star reports: "CN Group, publishers of the News & Star, has announced a series of proposals to restructure its editorial operation and opened up a company-wide voluntary redundancy scheme.

"In a series of briefings, staff have been told the financial performance of the business needs to improve to help maintain its ability to invest in its future and sustainability.

"As such, the company is looking to reduce editorial costs by £600,000 a year to help improve financial results.

"The proposals include centrally managing a reduced number of production journalists working across all titles.

"Similarly, it is proposed there will be a smaller team of centrally-managed photographers.

"In west Cumbria, it is proposed staff on three titles – Times & Star, Whitehaven News and News & Star West – would be merged into one west Cumbria team, under the leadership of one editor. All titles and offices will continue to operate.

"A number of localised proposals are also being consulted on across the group."

The group's editorial director David Helliwell is quoted saying: “Like all in the local media business, we cannot hide from some tough choices. 

"The proposals announced today would put our titles on a stronger financial footing while retaining our ability to cover our communities thoroughly. Our priority now is to consult fully with all staff who would be affected.”

According to the News and Star, voluntary redundancy will be open until 17 February.

According to CN Group's accounts for 2014, its group underlying operating profit was £1.3m on a £25.1m turnover.

The changes come shortly after the retirement of chief executive Robin Burgess.

CN Group is independently owned by members of the Burgess family.

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