Subbing shake-up to hit Archant Suffolk division

Archant Suffolk managing director Stuart McCreery said that headline writing should not be the sole remit of sub editors and that reporters could sub one another’s work as part of the changes taking place at the company.

Last week, it was announced that there could be around 20 redundancies within a pool of editorial and advertising production staff at the Archant division while advertisement designers with no journalistic training would design and lay out news and feature pages.

McCreery rubbished reports that non-journalists would be ‘subbing’copy.

The publishing division, which produces the East Anglian Daily Times and the Ipswich Evening Star, is currently in consultation with staff who have been given a choice of taking redundancy or reapplying for their jobs.

McCreery told Press Gazette: ‘Pages will be designed by designers who may not necessarily be qualified journalists, but they won’t be subbed by them.

‘It’s frustrating when we are trying to utilise skills for the better good of the product and the business to read that pages will be subbed by non-journalists. It’s not about devaluing the skills of our journalists.

‘I don’t think it should be the domain of subs to be the only people who can write a headline. At the end of the day I have editors who take full responsibility of their function and understand what is required.

‘I think we will have adequate proofreading responsibilities within the subs team that is going to remain. The workflow is going to change in a way that isn’t going to undermine the quality factor of the product.

‘It’s about the modern world and changing environment we are working in and its changes in processes that is driving this more than anything else.”

Asked specifically whether reporters would be subbing each other’s copy McCreery said ‘never say never, but that’s not what this process is about. I think other people will look at what we’ve done and hopefully we can prove that this is a good change.”

The consultation period between staff and management is likely to end by late March or early April.

The announcement came shortly ahead of the company’s financial report which showed a 3.4 per cent rise in profits to £30m.

NUJ father of chapel at Archant Suffolk Martin Chambers said: ‘There’s a lot of bitterness about it because Archant has pushed its profits up and is still trying to squeeze more money out of us.

‘It says the redundancies are not a move to save cash and it’s to do with streamlining which is obviously nonsense; it is obviously trying to increase shareholders’ dividends.

‘There was mention that reporters would put suggested headlines on the copy – it’s already happening with one of our listings supplements. It’s going to badly affect quality; there are going to be fewer trained eyes looking at the copy.

‘It could affect everybody if they get away with this.”

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