If nothing else, Trinity Mirror’s radical plans to re-organise the way its Midlands titles work has certainly made some waves.
Neil Benson, Trinity’s editorial director, described the move to bring the Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail and Sunday Mercury into one unified editorial structure as a “pioneering approach” and said that journalists would benefit from extra skills.
Nigel Hastilow, former editor of the Post, is not quite so convinced. He accuses Trinity of “disemboweling” the Birmingham papers and the Coventry Telegraph, which will have its own integrated content desk.
Mail editor Steve Dyson wrote of the difficulties of telling staff of the 65 jobs to be cut across the Birmingham and Coventry papers. He explains the reasoning: “I’ve seen the figures and we can simply no longer afford to exist as sister Midlands titles in silos…having their own management, writers and production departments working separately.”
The NUJ is also concerned, with General Secretary Jeremy Dear accusing Trinity of chasing “short-term, share-price-driven goals”.
With NUJ action already underway at Johnston Press, and some kind of group-wide action expected at Newsquest (Dear says “watch this space…”), it could be a lively few months ahead for regional papers.