Iliffe News & Media could scrap sub-editor role

Regional newspaper publisher Iliffe News & Media could scrap the role of sub-editor as part of a wide-ranging editorial restructure and its push to become a ‘digital first’operation.

In an internal memo seen by Press Gazette, editorial staff were told: ‘Although individuals will still be working in groups we are proposing to introduce a more streamlined print production approach that would, for example, replace the current sub editing function.”

The company is also reviewing its current editorial management structure below the level of editor.

The Cambridge Evening News publisher said this would mean ‘re-defining a number of key job roles pivotal to the management of editorial content generation and the processing of it through to both print and digital platforms”.

The statement continued: ‘Although there could be some reduction in head count if our proposal to eliminate the sub editing role is confirmed, it is important to recognise that the overall aim of our strategy is to increase our audience through the delivery of high quality content.”

As part of the new editorial structure, the company is also appointing four new regional head of content positions and is about to begin an 8-month programme to introduce ‘new editorial workflows and structures”, which includes the introduction of a new Atex editorial system.

The company believes this will ‘enable us to invest more of our editorial resources and energy into generating content rather than processing it”, adding: ‘It will also enable us to support our planned push for a Digital First publishing policy.”

Despite the prospect of cuts, Iliffe told editorial staff that it will be creating new jobs as part of its digital push, including additional jobs for ‘writing journalists”.

The implementation plans begin in September at its subsidiary LSN Media – which publishes free weekly titles across Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire – and are scheduled for completion at its Cambridge base in March 2013.

Management said it will now begin holding a series of meetings with affected staff.

The memo continued: ‘We recognise that because of the time scale involved in introducing the new system there will, inevitably, be a sense of uncertainty for some people – especially for those in areas scheduled for the end of the implementation programme.

‘For this reason it is our intention to deal with all the issues relating to changed job roles, in all centres at the same time. While this will mean that some individuals do not take up a new role for some months, everybody currently working in editorial will know what the future holds for them within a very short space of time.”

Iliffe News & Media publishes three evening newspapers, eight paid-for weekly newspapers, 18 free newspapers, two Sunday free newspapers, one quarterly and four monthly glossy magazines, and 37 related websites.

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