Trinity Mirror axe 'cuts heart from local news'

Trinity Mirror has been accused by staff of “ripping the heart out of local journalism”. The criticism follows plans to axe editorial jobs at many of Trinity Mirror Southern’s London weekly newspapers.

Staff at the North London and Herts Newspapers division have passed a vote of no confidence in bosses and are balloting on strike action over the changes.

Trinity revealed three weeks ago that it is to cut 47 out of 380 journalists’ jobs at 70-odd weekly newspapers.

The cuts are to come through more copy-sharing of features between titles and the centralising of sub-editors at a central pool in Uxbridge.

The Enfield-based North London and Herts office is one of only two out of five Trinity Mirror Southern divisions which has NUJ union recognition.

It includes the Enfield Gazette , Enfield Advertiser, Barnet Press and Haringey Advertiser .

NUJ FoC Jonathan Lovett said: “We see these changes as the thin end of the wedge and taking the local out of local papers.

“It will greatly reduce the quality of the papers and is ripping the heart of local journalism. We don’t know where this will stop and feel we need to do something about this” According to Lovett, the papers are losing a reporter, and their subs – three casuals and one full time-are being transferred to a new central location at Uxbridge which is one hour away.

There are fears that centralised subs will lack the local knowledge and connection with readers of local subs.

Lovett also expressed concern at the way Trinity Mirror had researched the recent cuts.

He said: “They looked at copy-rate over a two-week period, divided by the number of reporters and came up with a figure. They came up with a table and there was nothing about quality – just this crude analysis of how many column inches. In their ideal world, would it just be people churning out press releases to boost the quantity of column inches?” There are understood to be 12 NUJ members out of 15 permanent editorial staff at Trinity Mirror Southern’s Enfield office.

Trinity Mirror head office declined to comment pending the outcome of the strike vote

By Dominic Ponsford

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