London daily runs without subs desk in 'strategic' move

Management at City AM this week started producing the London-based financial news free daily without sub-editors.

Managing director Jens Torpe is in discussions with staff about letting the newspaper’s six subs go but, in the meantime, they have been given a week’s paid leave as he experiments with the new system.

Editor Allister Heath told Press Gazette: ‘The paper has gone out for the past two days with no subs and with no problems.

‘I am going to hire a new night editor and deputy night editor and move the structure to the evenings when we have an advantage over the dailies. We are considering phasing out subbing and the people coming in will be writing.”

Torpe, who founded the 100,000 circulation paper three years ago, says the decision to cut staff is not financial but strategic.

‘We need even more writing journalists and more resources in the evening as some of the best stories are those that benefit from our very late deadlines. This is not about jobs going but about shifting the structure.’

However, NUJ officials say the newspaper management is seeking to avoid union recognition and increasing the workload when there are ‘serious workload stress-related problems”.

Barry Fitzpatrick, the NUJ’s national organiser, said: ‘We don’t believe that the announcement of closure of the subs desk is unrelated to our application for union recognition.”

Under the new system, reporters are responsible for writing stories directly into a ready-prepared QuarkXPress layouts and entering their own headlines and bylines. News editors will allocate stories at the beginning of the process and proof-check the pages at the end.

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