More than 150 jobs to go at Kent Messenger Group

The Kent Messenger Group, which runs newspapers, radio stations and websites, has announced plans to cut 159 jobs – with 32 at risk in editorial.

The Folkestone and Thanet district offices could close in the cost-cutting proposals, with staff moving to Ashford and Whitstable.

Printing, distribution, and mailroom may also be outsourced. Until now, the group has always printed its own papers.

None of the titles – which include the Kent Messenger and Medway Messenger, among others – is expected to close, or be sold.

The cuts are being described as “phase two” of a restructuring, with the consultation due to finish in April.

Phase one, in November, saw 59 jobs cut – 30 in editorial – and newspaper offices in Dover, Faversham, Sittingbourne and Tunbridge Wells close.

If the latest proposals go ahead, the family-owned group’s staff will fall from around 550 to 400.

Managing director Graham Mead told Press Gazette the 32 editorial job losses would not be limited to one area.

“Photographers, reporters, sports, features, management – everyone is in the pot, basically,” he said.

Mead added in a statement: “If we had any other option but redundancies we would take it – but the reality is we have to restructure our business to be able to operate efficiently in this challenging environment and to position ourselves for the future.

“We will still have around 400 staff and believe we will still provide the best media service in Kent for all of our readers, listeners, visitors and customers.”

Chairman Geraldine Allinson added: “As I said last year, we hate to make anyone redundant – but we really have no alternative given the current state of the economy.

“Our proposal to outsource our printing was a particularly difficult one to make with the company’s long and successful history of printing our own titles.”

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