Liverpool papers make partial retreat on single newsroom

The Daily Post and Liverpool Echo are partially dismantling the single newsroom for the morning and the evening papers set up two years ago.

Staff received letters last weekend informing them that there would be more dedicated staff for each paper, although they will still work under one head of news and the concept of the multi-skilled newsroom is to remain.

The Echo is to get 13 dedicated reporters, the Post five, following a review of the system initiated by Echo editor Mark Dickinson over six months since he arrived last June.

Copy will still be shared as soon as it is filed, except for exclusives.

Although Dickinson has been the prime mover in the change, he and Post editor Alastair Machray are said to be equally supportive of the new arrangement, which will entail news editor Andrew Edwards becoming head of news and overseeing the whole operation, while working with deputy news editors and assistant news editors on each paper.

District reporters, photographers and court reporter Harry Dean will remain working for both titles. The photographers will report to assistant editors Steve Banner (Post) and Jon Brown (Echo).

Vacancies which already exist in the newsroom are to be filled to bring the staff back to the near 30 normal complement.

If there is only one graduate trainee at the titles, he or she will work for the Post. If there are more than one, they will be split between the titles.

The staff are said to be enthusiastic, which is more than can be said for their reaction when the newsrooms first merged.

Dickinson told Press Gazette: "In some ways it is similar to the review the BBC is going through now. I got the feeling after I arrived that we needed to concentrate on the newspaper as a brand – a team that understands its brand better is a happier team.

"We are not in any way going back on the idea of a multi-media newsroom. That’s very much part of the future here. With Channel One and the IC internet channel, we are going to be looking at new ways of handling our output."

Staff had interviews with managing editor Chris Walker last weekend to determine for which paper they would work.

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