The editors of the Times and Sunday Times have proposed sharing resources across the travel, money, property and sport sections of the two newspapers, as well as in sports production.
It follows a green light from the Government in July allowing owner News UK to make changes to editorial independence rules which were established when Rupert Murdoch bought both titles in 1981.
Times editor John Witherow and Sunday Times editor Martin Ivens outlined their proposal to staff in an email today, seen by Press Gazette.
They said: “We want to see how we can organise these editorial teams differently, in a better way, that makes sense for how we commission coverage and for how readers consume it.
“We understand these changes may be unsettling for those affected but we anticipate that new opportunities and more staff roles will be created through changing how we work.”
Resource sharing will take place where both editors agree there is duplication, they said. The Sunday Times Travel magazine is not affected.
A 30-day consultation process began today with affected staff and the News Union, formerly the News International Staff Association.
The National Union of Journalists, which is not recognised by Times Newspapers, has previously expressed fears that resource sharing will lead to job cuts and a decline in the quality of journalism.
“A change to the undertakings puts both newspapers in jeopardy,” a spokesperson said, warning that cost-cutting could ultimately lead to a drop in copy sales.
Witherow and Ivens said today: “It is important for the long-term viability of both newspapers that we organise our resources as efficiently as possible and that we continue to innovate to produce outstanding journalism.”
Although owner News UK has said it is committed to keeping the two titles separate, with separate editors, it applied for more “flexibility” to share resources to contend with digital disruption in the media industry.
ABC circulation figures for July show The Times at 376,975 (including 53,455 bulks), down 12 per cent year-on-year, and The Sunday Times at 649,908 (including 53,455 bulks), down 11 per cent year-on-year.
Both titles are behind a paywall online, with nearly 540,000 paid subscribers across print and digital combined. Their newsrooms are based at the News UK building in London Bridge (pictured).
Picture: Press Gazette