MEN to cut 35 jobs as profits plunge

By Sarah Lagan

The Manchester Evening News is proposing to axe
lose 22 per cent of its journalists after staff were told
the newspaper’s profits were predicted to be down 42 per cent on
last year.

Up to 35 posts could be made redundant, 27 in editorial.

Regional chief executive Mark Dodson announced to staff that there would be a greater reliance on freelances.

It
is proposed that all six staff photographers would be replaced by
freelances and the news and features subbing departments merged.

Dodson
told staff they would have the opportunity to apply for voluntary
redundancy though he did not rule out compulsory job losses.

However
he also told staff that the company intended to rely solely on
freelance and casual photographers. There are six staff photographers
working on the paper at present.

MEN editor Paul Horrocks said
the company would consider redeploying staff elsewhere in the company.
He told Press Gazette: “Job losses are never good news. What we have to
do is ensure the quality of the MEN and its compelling content is
maintained and we are going to carry out a review of the edition
structure. We have to look at what we can achieve with less journalists
but this is an issue that has been forced upon us by a dramatic
downturn in income streams and unfortunately is being mirrored across
the regional newspaper industry.

“We have not only got to retain
the integrity of the MEN but also to make sure that our content can be
supplied into other media platforms that we own like the web and like
Channel M Television. We have been practicing convergence. It is
ensuring the journalists are still in the engine room but transferring
their content into other platforms as well as print.”

Horrocks
added: “I think this is the way forward. Print has suffered and we have
seen the difficulty in maintaining circulations. But compelling content
should be spread in to digital formats, online and maybe a city TV
channel to capture the classified advertising that’s been taken away
from us. The media landscape’s changed and we’ve got to react to it.”

NUJ
general secretary Jeremy Dear said: “We see no need whatsoever for
these shocking redundancies, to the contrary, the company should be
investing more in good journalists and good journalism.

“There
has been talk of broadening the digital presence and if this is the
case jobs should be transferred not lost. We will not tolerate
compulsory redundancies.”

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