Northern Echo blames 'economic downturn' for job cuts and edition changes

Newsquest said today there would be no compulsory redundancies at the Northern Echo and confirmed it was cutting its editions from five to two.

In a statement the company ruled out compulsory redundancies but confirmed current vacancies for one part-time and two full-time journalists will not be filled. One full-time reporter’s post will be cut subject to early retirement, and one part-time job on the Echo’s sister paper The Darlington & Stockton Times

The paper saw an uplift in sales after its switch from broadsheet to a tabloid format in February last year but but blamed the economic downturn for its decision.

‘The newspaper industry is going through a period of transition, exacerbated by the current economic downturn. That is having an impact on every newspaper title in the country and The Northern Echo is no exception,’Newsquest’s statement said.

The Echo’s current five regional editions – Darlington, South West Durham, Teesside, Durham North West, Durham North and North Yorkshire – will be ‘consolidated’into two covering the north and south of the paper’s circulation area.

The paper will retain the option to print further editions on a nightly basis, depending on late-breaking national and regional news.

The paper’s editor, Peter Barron, said that the debate about how the paper’s editions should be structured had gone on during all the 28 years he has worked at the paper:

‘Many readers have complained that they feel the complexity of the current editions works against them. For example, they may live on Teesside but have grown up in Darlington and want to know what’s happening in both areas,” he said.

‘By simplifying the editions, and increasing the number of pages, we can ease those frustrations. More news from across the region will be available to readers of The Northern Echo.

‘We operate in a rapidly-changing environment, both economically and in terms of how people want to access their news, and we have to keep pace with that change.”

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