“Sly makes clear that the whole of Trinity Mirror is looking to improve efficiency all the time and take advantage of economies of scale.” MARC REEVES
Trinity Mirror Southern (TMS) is to make 47 journalists’ posts redundant in another wave of cost cutting. It is to centralise, in Uxbridge, its features departments and the news subbing of the Yellow Advertiser series as well as its Enfield and Barnet papers.
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Apart from TMS papers in Kent and Dorset, every one of its titles, with a total staff of around 380, will feel the effect of economies which have become standard practice throughout Trinity Mirror newspapers.
Those losing their jobs will be able to apply for 12 new positions at Uxbridge, eight in features and four in subs. Six casual posts go and 14 vacancies will not be filled. The company hopes the remaining job losses will be achieved by voluntary redundancy or redeployments.
The cuts mainly hit features journalists, with the Yellow Advertiser group facing the biggest cull.
News operations will also face changes, as the group seeks to bridge news and feature writing.
TMS editorial director Marc Reeves said: “Everyone who works in features will be affected, though we are still retaining features people in each centre to continue to do local features.”
He said the reason for the change is two-fold. “Sly makes clear that the whole of Trinity Mirror is looking to improve efficiency all the time and take advantage of economies of scale.
“TMS is the major publisher in London and the south-east (it has 83 titles) and since the Southnews purchase, that we made almost three years ago, we’ve been in the process of bringing all those separate and disparate businesses together.”
Yellow Advertiser (above) will take the brunt of Marc Reeves’ (below) cost cuts
Where businesses and papers overlap they have been rationalised to compete in London and the south east’s intensive market, he stated.
The second reason for the plan is to eliminate duplication of the leisure, entertainments and listings sections produced by the group’s papers.
One TMS journalist told Press Gazette : “One part in the consultation document that amazed us talked about ‘current industry thinking demands that we move away from the role of breaking news into a service that explains and analyses what goes on in the community, I think that means they want us to write more press releases.”
Reeves said changes to style came from TMS realising that it had a lot of generic, life-style and entertainments material in its titles at the expense of local news.
He commented: “Previously there has been a big divide between news and features -maybe we should be picking up on the writing style of features and using that on news. It does not mean we will not be breaking news”.
Consultation with staff will go on for the rest of the month. NUJ organiser Barry Fitzpatrick said the union was very concerned about the TMS redundancies and about “the constant hunting for cost-cutting which seems now to be an obsession more than a business plan with Trinity Mirror.”
The NUJ believes that in the present market conditions, investment should replace cost-cutting.
He added: “It’s about time that people got back to the concept of newspapers being sold to readers who want to buy them because they want to read them.”
By Jean Morgan and Jon Slattery