Johnston Press plans to centralise North West subbing

Johnston Press plans to centralise sub-editing and picture desk management at its North West titles - with the potential loss of 12 jobs - 10 years after first trying it.

The North West is the third area, after the Midlands and Northern Ireland, where Johnston Press has announced centralisation.

Press Gazette understands that staff were told last Thursday, and meetings were ongoing on Friday.

The plans – subject to consultation – would see sub-editing at Chorley, Garstang, Burnley and Wigan moving to Preston, home of the Lancashire Evening Post, with the loss of four jobs.

Sub-editing in Lancaster and Morecambe would move to Blackpool, with six jobs lost but three created, giving a net loss of three.

Five picture desk editors from the region would have to apply for two jobs in Preston, and two photographer roles would also go, bringing the total job losses to 12.

Titles affected would include the Burnley Express, the Chorley Guardian, and Morecambe's The Visitor.

A source told Press Gazette: "They centralised subbing 10 years ago, and it didn't work, so they sent everyone back.

"Then, everything went to Preston, rather than Preston and Blackpool, but there's still some scepticism.

"It didn't work then, so why would it now?"

North West regional managing director Margaret Hilton was unavailable for comment. The consultation is due to end on 27 February.

Johnston Press has recently announced centralisation in the Midlands, with 49 potential job losses, and Northern Ireland, with 11 job losses.

In the Midlands, the National Union of Journalists is proposing an alternative restructuring.

In Northern Ireland, staff at the Derry Journal have balloted for strike action.

When the centralising plans were announced, Johnston Press's chief operating officer Danny Cammiade told Press Gazette: "Johnston Press is a newspaper group that bases itself on its localness."

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