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More Northcliffe subbing jobs set to go

Around 25 editorial jobs are under threat within the Northcliffe publishing group as a result of plans to create two further centralised production hubs in Bristol and Swansea.

Staff at Gloucestershire Media in Cheltenham have been told that up to 15 posts are set to go with editorial production of the Citizen, the Gloucestershire Echo and their sister weekly titles set to move to Bristol.

A further ten posts are under threat at South West Wales Newspapers in Swansea, publishers of the South Wales Evening Post.

The move follows the introduction of similar production “centres of excellence” at Northcliffe’s centres in Hull, Nottingham, Stoke and Chelmsford.

The proposed changes were announced in a series of internal briefings at Cheltenham and Swansea over the past two days and a formal consultation period is now under way.

Staff were told that the number of people currently employed in editorial production across the group’s West and Wales division was not sustainable in the current economic climate.

Posts affected in Cheltenham include news and features subs and editorial production assistants, but sports subs, newsdesk and reporting roles are unaffected.

However the ten Swansea jobs under threat include those of sports subs as well as news subs, with sports production to be absorbed in the proposed production hub there.

Under the plans, the roles of chief sub for both the Citizen and the Echo along with that of Weekend magazine designer would be retained locally in Cheltenham.

It is understood that no posts within the existing Bristol Evening Post and Western Daily Press subbing operation are under threat.

The proposed changes are being overseen by West and Wales regional editorial director Mike Norton, but neither he nor any of the other editors whose titles are affected are making any official comment about them.

One Gloucestershire staffer who wished to remain anonymous said staff were “disappointed, but not surprised” at the announcement.

“While staff appreciate the economic climate is very difficult and advertising revenues are falling, the decision to move sub-editors away from Gloucestershire will adversely affect the quality of the product,” he said.

“Far from being a “Centre of Excellence”, the newly-created subbing pools will see local knowledge thrown out the window and redundancies among existing sub-editors will see valuable skills lost.”

Comments

Rob (10/06/2009 14:42:00)
No surprises here then. It will be interesting to see how many mistakes start creeping in now – especially with all those tricky Welsh names.
I’m sure local readers will appreciate it when their towns and streets are misspelled because the journalists are not from the area and there are no local subs. But who needs local knowledge when you’ve got Wikipedia?

Glenda McDougal (10/06/2009 19:39:47)
The production hub proposals are for Bristol and Swansea, with jobs going from Bath, Cheltenham and Yeovil – around 40 in total, but 20 new jobs will be created at the hubs. You seem to have ignored the job losses at the Western Gazette, where 11 staff are in consultation – all the subs and features team. This sits alongside the many jobs already gone in copy control, Country Gardener and advertising.

Jez (10/06/2009 20:12:11)
When the economy gets better will these decisions be reversed? Not likely – profit margins will just get bigger and bigger…..

hizzary (10/06/2009 22:02:17)
Yeah, well, saw that one coming when they hooked us up to the Bristol Tera system – whatever excuse they fed us at the time…

Mark (11/06/2009 09:44:35)
The next move will be to sell off the Bristol offices and move to smaller premises, then ALL the Northcliffe West Country titles will find a home in one building with even more jobs losses! Mike Norton, the man charged with overseeing all these changes is a Bristol boy who should examine his conscience.

Observer (11/06/2009 09:47:39)
Whoever came up with the title of ‘centre of excellence’ should get a job in PR. The truth wrapped up in clever words.

Sigh (11/06/2009 10:45:27)
You should see the errors produced from the Hull hub today. It’s not the subs fault, but a couple of them are shocking. There’s too much to do, and at the key moments no senior staff around taking responsibility. The worst thing is, people are leaving and will continue to leave, meaning the talent pool gets smaller and soon there’ll be people in the ‘hubs’ who don’t even have the slightest feel for newspapers, on a pittance and barely literate. Even sadder, is that other areas of the papers will end up being stripped of staff to ensure the hubs are a success (well, to avert total disaster then). How newspaper people like John Meehan and others can keep a straight face when they put up a Centre of Excellence sign is beyond me. It’s sick and dangerous, but not for the bosses. Oh no, daren’t lose control, dare we? Sad

JJ (11/06/2009 11:57:32)
I live in the Midlands and under these “keeping it local” management policies from my current location I reckon I’m in with a shout of being a sub for some of the Cornwall papers!!!

hacked-off (11/06/2009 12:12:37)
Count the big Mercs and Beemers in the car park when they come to make the redundancies…

arthur (11/06/2009 12:17:18)
It’s more than 25 jobs.
16 positions also going in Bath and a few going in Yeovil as well

gemma (11/06/2009 14:14:25)
HTFP has still failed to mention Western Gazette, even when given a news story in comments. It comes to something when even HTFP ignores the paper with around 35,000 papers sold each week.

HoldtheFrontPage (11/06/2009 15:35:02)
Gemma/Arthur/Glenda McDougal – as you can see from the story, no-one from Northcliffe West & Wales is making any comment on this so we are reliant on what our sources choose to tell us at the time. Having checked back with those sources in the light of your comments, we understand it is indeed the case that some jobs at Bath and Yeovil are also under threat and this will be reflected in any follow-up stories on this issue.

Regina (11/06/2009 18:34:46)
Who is willing to bet that computers will be doing our jobs in the not too distant future?

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