Reach insiders speak out on latest redundancy plan as Mirror publisher surpasses 1,000 job cuts in a decade

The UK’s largest news publisher has axed more than 1,000 staff over the last decade, analysis by Press Gazette has found.

Reach, formerly known as Trinity Mirror, this week announced it was cutting 550 jobs as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

But these are just the latest in a long line of redundancies made by the publisher in recent years through various restructurings.

Should Google and Facebook be forced to pay publishers for content?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Reach, which bought the Express and Star titles from Richard Desmond in May 2018, currently owns more than 150 newsbrands (full list below).

The group estimates that its total monthly reach across national and regional newsbrands, digital and print, is 46.7m.

Its latest round of cuts – 550 jobs – is equal to 12% of the company’s total workforce. Reach employs about 2,600 editorial staff alone.

The company has said it wants to combine its national and regional teams to create one editorial team across the UK and Ireland, with staff to share stories via a new internal wire service.

The cutbacks, thought to be the biggest round of layoffs in the company’s history, are part of changes intended to deliver savings of £35m a year.

Sports journalists, reporters and subs are believed to be in the firing line.

Press Gazette understands the Daily Star will be worst hit by the proposed cuts, with its reporting team set to be nearly halved from 17 to nine. The Sunday Express faced a similar fate in a previous round of cuts.

It is also understood that six of the 17 photographers on Reach’s national titles are at risk, with the company planning to use photographers on its regional newspapers to cover national jobs in the regions.

One insider told Press Gazette there was real concern among regional papers “because they believe the nationals will suck up their resources”.

There are further fears that in an attempt to create one combined editorial team, Reach’s regional titles will lose their individual identities – particularly online where some fear celebrity news may be favoured over local news.

The well-placed source also said that under the plans for one editorial team, sub-editors would become “brand publishers” and “page publishers”. An example, they said, of cutbacks being dressed up as a “transformation”.

Under the plans, one editor-in-chief and a deputy would be appointed to cover both of Reach’s celebrity magazines – OK! and New! – and its seven newspaper supplements, with staff working across all nine titles, they said.

The latest redundancies come off the back of the coronavirus pandemic which decimated advertising and print sales as people stayed at home to slow the spread of the virus.

Reach furloughed nearly 1,000 staff (about one fifth of its employees) in April in an attempt to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on its businesses and cut the wages of remaining staff by up to 20%.

The Express Newspapers’ NUJ chapel has said of the new cuts: “Despite accepting taxpayers’ money for what was meant to be a job retention scheme, Reach is now proposing to do away with many of these jobs.

“We fear that the quality of our newspapers, magazines, and online pages is bound to suffer and we urge management to make clear as soon as possible where these proposed cuts will fall and how editorial standards are to be safeguarded.”

The union said that despite Covid-19, “Reach is still predicted to make a pre-tax profit of £100m this year and emerge from the crisis with a £20m cash reserve, similar to where it was at the start of the year”.

Reach made a pre-tax profit of £150.6m on turnover of £702.5m in 2019, which included a full year of trading with the Express and Star titles.

Reach told Press Gazette: “The changes at Reach are aimed at maximizing the company’s business model and will protect its trusted national and local news brands for the long-term.

“Structural change in the media sector has accelerated during the pandemic and to meet these challenges we have completed plans to transform the organisation to create a more streamlined and efficient operation.”

As former Express and Star owner, Richard Desmond is Reach’s biggest single shareholder. Press Gazette was told staff feel “we are being asked to pay with our jobs” to fund Desmond’s “billionaire lifestyle”.

The insider also said there’s a sense that staff are paying for “past errors”, notably the Mirror group’s payments to historical phone-hacking victims, which has run into the tens of millions of pounds.

Large-scale redundancies at Reach (and Trinity Mirror before) have often been tied to restructures. However, these have also brought job creation with them, particularly in digital, although this is harder to measure.

See below for a timeline of cuts and major milestones for the company.

In 2017 Reach put up to 40 editorial jobs at risk as it expanded content sharing between newspapers. In 2018 it underwent a restructure that separated its print and digital operations, putting some 100 jobs at risk.

Reach’s stable of more than 100 regional and local titles includes some of the UK’s biggest regional daily newspapers,including the Manchester Evening News, Liverpool Echo and South Wales Evening Post.

Its digital network has grown to nearly 100 news websites, most of which serve different regions of the UK.

Timeline

November 1904: Liverpool Daily Post and Echo Plc is founded

January 1985: Company name changes to Trinity International Holdings Plc

May 1998: Company name changes to Trinity Plc

September 1999: Trinity buys the Mirror Group and changes is name to Trinity Mirror

February 2010: Trinity Mirror buys the Manchester Evening News and 31 other regional titles from the Guardian Media Group

June 2010: Trinity Mirror cuts 200 jobs across its three national titles

February 2012: Trinity Mirror cuts up to 75 editorial jobs across its three national titles

July 2014: Eight editorial jobs cut under plans to merge the editorial teams of the Sunday Mirror and Sunday People

November 2014: Trinity Mirror closes seven regional newspapers with loss of 50 jobs

February 2015: Belfast Live launches, the first of the group’s regional news websites under the Live branding

November 2015: Trinity Mirror buys Local World

May 2016: National newspaper New Day closes three months after launch

May 2016: Four jobs at risk on South Wales Evening Post

July 2016: Some 15 jobs cut, including high-profile journalists

October 2016: Seven editorial jobs at risk across Mirror and People titles

January 2017: Subbing hub move sees 78 Trinity Mirror regional newspaper journalists face redundancy

January 2017: Six more editorial jobs cut at Mirror titles because print decline is outpacing digital ad growth

September 2017: Trinity Mirror puts up to 40 editorial jobs at risk as it expands content sharing between newspapers (+ 15 new roles created)

February 2018: Trinity Mirror puts up to 49 editorial jobs at risk as it moves to create “standalone” digital business

March 2018: Further 49 jobs put at risk in restructure to separate print and digital

May 2018: Trinity Mirror buys the Express and Star newspapers from Richard Desmond’s Northern and Shell in a deal worth £127m and rebrands as Reach

September 2018: Reach announces plan to cut up to 70 jobs at its national titles to “remove duplication of effort” after merger

November 2018: Reach puts 41 jobs at risk its regional editorial teams as it rolls out a “common production model”

March 2019: Reach announces a further 14 editorial roles at risk

October 2019: Reach announces a further 20 editorial roles at risk

March 2020: Coronavirus lockdown starts in UK

July 2020: Reach announces plans to cut 550 staff (around 12% of its workforce)

Reach newsbrands

National newsbrands (print)
  1. The Daily Mirror
  2. The Sunday Mirror
  3. The People
  4. Daily Express
  5. Sunday Express
  6. Daily Star
  7. Daily Star Sunday
  8. Daily Record (Scotland)
  9. The Sunday Mail (Scotland)
Magazine brands (print)
  1. OK!
  2. NEW!
Regional newsbrands (print)
  1. Accrington Observer
  2. Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
  3. Aldershot News & Mail Series
  4. Ashbourne News Telegraph
  5. Ayrshire Post
  6. Bath Chronicle
  7. Birmingham Mail
  8. Birmingham Post
  9. Black Country Bugle
  10. Blairgowrie Advertiser
  11. Brentwood Gazette
  12. Bristol Post
  13. Burton Mail
  14. Caernarfon Herald (ch Series)
  15. Cambridge News
  16. Carmarthen Journal
  17. Chester Chronicle
  18. Cornish Guardian
  19. Coventry Telegraph
  20. Crewe Chronicle
  21. Croydon Advertiser
  22. Cynon Valley Leader (Aberdare)
  23. Daily Post – Wales
  24. Daily Record Scotland
  25. Derby Telegraph
  26. Dorking & Leatherhead Advertiser
  27. Dover Express
  28. Dumfries & Galloway Standard (Fri)
  29. Dumfries & Galloway Standard (Tue)
  30. East Grinstead Courier
  31. East Kilbride News
  32. Essex Chronicle
  33. Exeter Express & Echo (Thur)
  34. Express Wales –
  35. Folkestone Herald Series
  36. Galloway News
  37. Glamorgan Gazette (Bridgend)
  38. Gloucester Citizen
  39. Gloucestershire Echo
  40. Grimsby Telegraph
  41. Gwent Gazette
  42. Hamilton Advertiser
  43. Hampshire Live
  44. Hertfordshire Mercury
  45. Heywood & Middleton Guardian
  46. Hinckley Times
  47. Huddersfield Daily Examiner
  48. Hertfordshire Mercury
  49. Hull Daily Mail
  50. Irvine Herald
  51. Isle of Thanet Gazette
  52. Kent & Sussex Courier
  53. Kilmarnock Standard
  54. Leek Post & Times
  55. Leicester Mercury
  56. Lennox Herald
  57. Lincolnshire Echo
  58. Liverpool Echo
  59. Liverpool Sunday Echo
  60. Llanelli Star Series
  61. Loughborough Echo
  62. Macclesfield Express
  63. Mail Series (Bangor & Holyhead)
  64. Manchester Evening News (Mon-Wed & Sat)
  65. Manchester Evening News (Thu-Fri)
  66. Manchester Weekly News
  67. Merthyr Express
  68. Mid Devon Gazette Series
  69. Mid Somerset Series
  70. Newcastle Journal
  71. Newcastle upon Tyne Sunday Sun
  72. Northants Live
  73. North Devon Journal
  74. North Wales Weekly News
  75. Nottingham Post
  76. Nuneaton News – Free (Wed)
  77. Ormskirk Advertiser Series
  78. Paisley Daily Express
  79. Perthshire Advertiser (Fri)
  80. Perthshire Advertiser (Tue)
  81. Pontypridd Observer Group
  82. Retford Times
  83. Rochdale Observer (Sat)
  84. Rochdale Observer (Wed)
  85. Rossendale Free Press
  86. Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News
  87. Rutherglen Reformer
  88. Scunthorpe Telegraph
  89. Sevenoaks Chronicle
  90. South Lincs Target Group
  91. South Wales Echo
  92. South Wales Evening Post
  93. Southport Visiter
  94. Staffordshire Newsletter
  95. Standard & Guardian Weekly Group Somerset
  96. Stirling Observer (Fri)
  97. Stirling Observer (Wed)
  98. Stockport Express
  99. Stoke The Sentinel
  100. Strathearn Herald
  101. Sunday Mail -Scotland
  102. Sunday Mercury – Birmingham
  103. Surrey Advertiser
  104. Surrey Mirror
  105. Tamworth Herald Series
  106. The Chronicle – Newcastle
  107. The Cornishman
  108. The Gazette – Teeside
  109. The Herald (Plymouth)
  110. Torquay Herald Express
  111. Wales – Western Mail
  112. Wales on Sunday
  113. West Briton
  114. West Lothian Courier
  115. Western Daily Press
  116. Western Gazette
  117. Western Morning News
  118. Wishaw Press
Digital newsbrands

1. Aryshire Live
2. Bathchronicle.co.uk
3. Belfastlive.co.uk
4. Berkshire Live
5. Birmingham Live
6. Birminghammail.co.uk
7. Brighton Live
8. Bristol Live
9. Bristolpost.co.uk
10. Business Live
11. Cambridge-News.co.uk
12. Cambridgeshire Live
13. Cheshire Live
14. Chesterfield Live
15. Chronicle Live
16. Cornwall Live
17. Walesonline.co.uk
18. County sites
19. Cork Beo
20. Coventry Live
21. Coventrytelegraph.Net
22. Crewechronicle.co.uk
23. Croydonadvertiser.co.uk
24. Dailypost.co.uk
25. Dailyrecord.co.uk
26. Dailystar.co.uk
27. Derbytelegraph.co.uk
28. Derbyshire Live
29. Devon Live
30. Dublin Live
31. Durham Live
32. Digital Cities
33. Edinburgh Live
34. Essex Live
35. Examiner Live
36. Exeter Live
37. Express.co.uk
38. Fish4 Sites
39. Football.London
40. Footballscotland.co.uk
41. Gazettelive.co.uk
42. Getreading.co.uk
43. Glasgow Live
44. Gloucestershire Live
45. Getsurrey.co.uk
46. Getwestlondon.co.uk
47. Grimsby Live
48. Grimsbytelegraph.co.uk
49. Herts Live
50. Hertfordshiremercury.co.uk
51. Hull Live
52. Insider.co.uk
53. InYourArea
54. irishmirror.ie
55. Kentlive.News
56. Lancs Live
57. Leeds Live
58. Leicestermercury.co.uk
59. Leicestershire Live
60. Lincolnshire Live
61. Liverpool.com
62. Liverpoolecho.co.uk
63. Manchestereveningnews.co.uk
64. Mansfield Live
65. Mirror Online
66. My Bolton
67. My Bury
68. My London
69. My Salford
70. My Wigan
71. Newport Online
72. Nottinghamshire Live
73. North Wales Live
74. Northumberland Live
75. Ok.co.uk
76. Plymouthherald.co.uk
77. Plymouth Live
78. Rsvplive.Ie
79. Rossendalefreepress.co.uk
80. Scunthorpetelegraph.co.uk
81. Soccerbase.com
82. Somerset Live
83. Southportvisiter.co.uk
84. Stokesentinel.co.uk
85. Staffordshire Live
86. Stoke on Trent Live
87. Stokesentinel.co.uk
88. Sunderland Live
89. Surrey Live
90. SussexLive
91. Teesside Live
92. Thejournal.co.uk
93. Torbay Live
94. Truro Live
95. Wales Online
96. Warwickshire Live
97. Yorkshire Live

Free titles suspended during pandemic
  1. Manchester Weekly News
  2. Sutton Coldfield Observer
  3. Lichfield Mercury
  4. Midweek Visiter
  5. Blackmore Vale Magazine

Picture: Reuters/Simon Dawson

SIGN UP HERE FOR

PRESS GAZETTE DAILY

Our free daily round-up of the biggest news about the world of news

Comments

1 thought on “Reach insiders speak out on latest redundancy plan as Mirror publisher surpasses 1,000 job cuts in a decade”

  1. You lot all make me laugh never a mention about the print sites and all those workers, common sense say that at least one of the print sites will be shutting! But nothing from reach, at least they should have the bottle to inform the staff what is going on? Once the first 45 days is over the announcement about print will happen I’m sure!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

seventeen + 1 =