Trinity Mirror Midlands 'picture desk under threat' as part of seven proposed job losses

Trinity Mirror is reportedly set to axe the picture desk across its West Midlands titles as part of planned job cuts in the area.

Last month, the publisher said that seven jobs were at risk across Trinity Mirror Midlands as it announced plans to adopt a “digital-first publishing process”.

Trinity Mirror divisions in the North East of England and Wales have already this year taken up the “Newsroom 3.1” model, and the Midlands area is expected to do so by the end of this month.

According to Holdthefrontpage, the seven roles – across the Birmingham Mail, Birmingham Post, Sunday Mercury and Coventry Telegraph – currently at threat include picture editor, deputy picture editor, head of sport, cricket correspondent and rugby correspondent.

The National Union of Journalists condemned the job losses, pointing out that digital-first moves in other division of the publisher have not led to job losses.

But Trinity Mirror said that five new roles have been created in the area to add to seven digital roles created there already this year. According to the NUJ, jobs created include a "grassroots sports curator and a content curator" as well as football editor, sports writer and senior story editor positions.

The union said that in other areas where the 3.1 model has been adopted, more jobs have been created through investment. Press Gazette understands that changes in the North East have led to a net increase in journalism jobs.

Chris Morley, NUJ northern and Midlands organiser, said in August: 

The introduction of Newsroom 3.1 was known to be coming to the Midlands but it has not come with the same level of investment in journalism and journalists jobs as it has done elsewhere.

“Indeed, some of our members have been put at risk of losing their jobs and there is every risk that this might turn into compulsory redundancies. We will be working very hard to avoid that situation so that it does not cast a shadow over what our members feel overall are positive developments for how the newsroom operates.

“The first question our Birmingham chapel will be asking mangers is how they believe a four-newspaper newsroom will operate without a picture desk? We hope everything possible is considered for saving the skills and experience of journalists whose jobs have been put at risk.”

The "Newsroom 3.1" structure was unveiled in the North East in March, and was adopted across Media Wales in June.

Midlands editor-in-chief David Brookes said the changes, across the Birmingham and Coventry offices, will ensure further online growth for the titles.

In June, the Birmingham Mail website recorded 124,105 average daily unique users, up 162 per cent year on year, and the Coventry Telegraph recorded 92,047, up 304 per cent on June 2013.

“We have seen fantastic growth in our online audiences since the start of the year and Newsroom 3.1 will help us continue that success for years to come,” Brookes said.

“Many of our journalists are already multi-skilled and feel confident in producing digital content. The new newsrooms will allow them to become truly digitally-led, producing outstanding and engaging content for readers.”

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