News International is cutting 60 jobs across its four national titles – but savings will be reinvested into editorial, Press Gazette understands.
The cutbacks will be made mainly in production desks on The Sun, The Times, The Sunday Times, and the News of the World.
It is thought each paper will lose 15 staff each, with casual shifts also being cut. There are 3,300 staff at News International.
Editors are talking to staff this afternoon – but Press Gazette has been told the titles’ subbing desks will remain separate.
James Murdoch, News Corporation chairman and chief executive in Europe and Asia, emailed staff this morning to warn of an ‘efficiency and effectiveness’drive.
Last week his father, Rupert Murdoch, reacted to News Corporation’s 42 per cent operating profit decrease in 2008 by giving notice of ‘rigorous cost-cutting and reducing headcount where appropriate”.
Management are adamant today’s move is a ‘streamlining of processes”, rather than a cost-cutting exercise.
They also say they will make a significant investment in training and ‘up-skilling”.
But the National Union of Journalists – who aren’t recognised by News International – queried how the ‘reinvestment’would work.
‘I don’t understand what it means,’said national organiser Barry Fitzpatrick.
‘They’re not saying there are 60 alternative jobs, they’re saying it will be put into editorial resources.
‘But that’s a lot of training – you could be talking, what, £3m?”
In 2008, according to News Corporation’s accounts, News International’s advertising revenue fell 10 per cent, but profit remained steady – thanks partly to increased circulation revenue, caused by cover price rises.