Taunton Times staff latest to face redundancy threat

By Sarah Lagan

Northcliffe Newspapers has warned staff at the
Taunton Times there could be redundancies at the paper due to a major
reorganisation of its Western Newspapers weeklies.

The company is
considering sharing resources across the Times and the Wellington
Weekly News and bringing it under the control of the Western Gazette,
edited by Martin Heal and published in Yeovil. The Bridgewater Times
will be produced from the Clevedon Mercury office.

Western
Newspapers managing director Andrew Calvert said: “In my announcement
to staff about the proposed editorial changes, I explained that we have
for some time been concerned about the financial situation at the paper
[Taunton Times].

“It was launched into a very competitive market
seven years ago and has during that time carved itself out a very
valuable market position, providing a real and welcome alternative to
the paid-for Somerset County Gazette.

“The paper has won a string
of awards, including four out of the Newspaper Society’s seven Wales
and West newspaper of the year awards. However, it has continued to be
a challenge in economic terms.

“We will ensure we give the paper
the best possible chance of success in the future. If redundancies do
become necessary, we will do our best to find positions elsewhere for
as many staff as we possibly can.”

Eight journalists work at the
Taunton paper. They have been told the plan is not part of the
Northcliffe-wide Aim Higher strategy, but is as a result of an
advertising slowdown.

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