Ipswich daily papers to merge editorial teams

Archant is planning to effectively merge the editorial teams of its two Ipswich-based daily papers, the East Anglian Daily Times and the Evening Star, following the introduction of new technology.

Up to five editorial managers’ jobs are at risk as a result of the merger – but this figure may come down if new roles can be found within the operation. The two titles will retain dedicated editors, deputy editors and news editors.

Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover, who will also be in charge of live web news for the merged operation, said: “People will be dedicated to titles – but everybody will be working for everything. We will be responsible for each other.

“The challenge is to retain the brand identities of fiercely independent and well-loved newspapers in their community and on their attached websites – to retain the difference between the two.”

He added: “Despite a gloomy economic backdrop, I believe this is a hugely exciting time for our news operation in Suffolk, based on our traditional home, in the heart of Ipswich.

“We produce quality daily newspapers at the heart of the their respective communities – and websites that are giving us a huge new audience.”

The latest move follows the axing of eight sub-editors – cutting the total to 18 – across the Archant Soffolk titles earlier this year as part of 20 redundancies among editorial and commercial production staff.

The Archant Suffolk titles have created a new system whereby non-editorial page designers work alongside journalistically-trained page editors.

The new combined newsroom will come into place early next year, following the roll-out of a new editorial content management system across Archant Regional over the next few months called Atex/Polopoly.

According to Archant, the new system will allow journalists to place their stories, pictures and video footage into one “easily accessible and user-friendly basket”.

A spokesman said: “The whole of Archant’s editorial content pool will be visible to journalists across the group – allowing Suffolk journalists to operate cutting edge technology to benefit award-winning print titles and a new, rapidly-growing, audience on the internet.”

Journalists will work across the Ipswich dailies and their sister weeklies – rather than being focused on one title.

East Anglian Daily Times editor Terry Hunt said: “The new system will give us state-of-the-art technology and the ability for our writers to fully grab hold of the opportunities of the multimedia age. It is a very exciting time to be a journalist in our Suffolk operation.”

The two Ipswich-based titles have been moving closer together in recent years and have already merged sport, photography and production departments.

The East Anglian Daily Times, which is a morning title, lost 4.2 per cent of its sales in the first half of this year, down to 34,055. The Evening Star fell 6.9 per cent to 19,319.

Archant Suffolk also publishes free titles the Bury Mercury, Sudbury Mercury, Ipswich Advertiser, Felixstowe Advertiser, Hadleigh Advertiser, Stowmarket Advertiser and Coastal Advertiser

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