Staff furious as job cuts follow Argus relaunch

Journalists on the Argus in Brighton are angry that the paper’s failed relaunch has been followed by cutbacks.

The
paper relaunched in February last year with a Daily Mail-style
redesign. In the last six months of 2004, sales dropped 9.7 per cent to
38,361.

Much community news was dropped and journalists were told
to target a reader described as a 35-year-old mother of two with a
commuter husband.

Three photographic Mac operators and the newsdesk secretary have gone.

Another photographic job could be cut.

Use of freelance columnists and photographers has also been reduced.

One
insider said editorial staff are suffering the effects of a relaunch
which was seen as a failure of the sales and marketing department. The
target reader profile given to journalists is said to have now been
“quietly dropped”.

NUJ members boycotted a party held on Friday to mark the paper’s 125th birthday. Argus management was unavailable for comment.

Meanwhile, Newsquest has also been cutting jobs at its News Shopper series of free weeklies in south-east London.

Several reporting jobs are understood to have gone as a result of nonreplacement of staff and there have been two redundancies.

A
Newsquest spokesman said one job had been cut on the photographic desk
because of new technology, and one on the sport’s desk had been caused
by a cut in pages. Editions had also been cut from 12 to eight to
“better reflect the communities served by the paper”.

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