Jobs to go in merger at Newsquest Hampshire

The subbing and sports departments of the Southern Daily Echo in Southampton and the Hampshire Chronicle are to be merged.

The papers' owner, Newsquest, is seeking three voluntary redundancies at the Chronicle — one in subbing and two in the sports department. There will be no compulsory job losses.

Echo sports editor Simon Carter will oversee the sports pages of both titles while one Hampshire Chronicle sports journalist will join the Echo team and will work on the sports pages for the Chronicle, the Romsey Advertiser and the News Extra series.

In a memo to staff, Echo editor Ian Murray said there was the possibility of some changes to shift patterns. The Chronicle has no recognised union chapel.

Newsquest Hampshire managing director Stewart Dunn told Press Gazette: "We are consolidating our position and where we have obvious duplication we are trying to streamline our operation to make sure we can bring the best efficiencies. We are sorry it would incur any redundancies and we are going to try and achieve those through voluntary redundancy."

It is understood that with the latest set of job cuts, editorial staff numbers at the Chronicle will have fallen by 30 per cent in the past five years from 30 to 21.

Dunn added: "I can't deny we have reduced the numbers, which is probably in line with a number of companies. But at the same time we've invested in systems that make life easier and quicker."

Murray said: "We have a large sports department here and we cover the same teams and the same matches. The reports won't be exactly the same."

■ The Southampton Advertiser and News Extra in Winchester are also to merge into one series of free papers from next month. There will be editions for Southampton, Eastleigh and Winchester which will all be subbed from Southampton.

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