Editorial staff at the Manchester Evening News and its 22 sister weekly titles are to be combined into a single team, under plans announced by MEN Media today.
Up to 10 jobs could go in the restructuring plan which will see teams of reporters covering specific geographical areas, creating content for all MEN Media’s titles and platforms.
However a number of new roles will also be created as part of the restructure, two of which will focus on the creation of high-quality, user-generated content.
As well as a combined newsdesk operation, production will also be handled by a single team, although there will be dedicated ‘product champion’ roles with a brief to ensure that quality and local knowledge are retained.
MEN Media editor-in-chief Maria McGeoghan said: “The reorganisation of our newsroom is aimed at reinforcing the high standards of journalism across all of our products, to serve our audiences better and to create one great team.
“I want to put original, local content at the heart of everything we do. We need to work smarter to gather first-class material, publish creatively, ensure consistently high standards, avoid duplication of effort and spread the workload more effectively.
“I am proud of our editorial team, who I believe represent the best of journalism in our region. This process is about using their skills in a better way, to make the business a success and to secure its long-term future.”
The company, which was bought by Trinity Mirror in March, said the restructure would be underpinned by a comprehensive training programme and new equipment to allow reporters to undertake complete multimedia reporting.
MEN Media’s weekly editorial staff moved into the Manchester Evening News offices in Scott Place as part of an earlier restructure last year but the two operations had remained separate.
The newsroom changes will be phased in shortly before its planned move in September to its new base in Chadderton, Oldham.
metman (12/07/2010 15:45:45)
What’s going to happen here is a single, probably one edition part-paid daily and then weekly free spoilers using rehashed content from the paid edition.
Newsquest does this and there’s no reason why Trinity wouldn’t do the same. Why pay for several teams when you can get one and a sub/writer just to cut the content for the weeklies?
Late Night FInal (12/07/2010 15:52:32)
Yet another nail in the coffin of a once fine newspaper.
guy snowdon (12/07/2010 15:57:32)
Welcome to Trinity Mirror.
Here We Go (12/07/2010 16:32:06)
Metman, it must be nice to be able to predict the future. I suggest you keep a note of what McGeoghan said, so that when some of the titles she is seeking to improve just become rehashes, you can have a jolly good laugh. As for Guy Snowdon, most decent people would think twice before posting flippant comments.
Ronshirt (12/07/2010 16:55:30)
How reassuring to see that although the weekly I started on 35 years ago (and which still sells amazingly well to its loyal local readers by today’s standards) will now be produced 25 miles away, it will have a ‘champion’. Best of luck chum, whoever you are.
Local lass (12/07/2010 17:03:41)
Er…what’s flippant about Guy Snowdon’s comment? It reflects a cold hard reality which is that shareholder-driven Trinity will cut and cut and cut with every passing year in order to reduce its cost base and shore up the divi. GMG selling the paper down the river was only the start. Do a headcount two years from now and see if you think its Snowdon’s remark is flippant.
watchin (12/07/2010 17:18:05)
What was it sly Sly said about ‘no more job cuts’ a few months ago?
the red postman (13/07/2010 08:55:44)
‘High-quality user-generated content’ ? Give me strength….What you’ll get here is overworked reporters and not enough page-planners and newsdesk people. ‘Product champions’ are a recipe for conflict on a supposedly united newsdesk. It’s just another ill-considered TM cost-cutting scheme.
Mr_Osato (13/07/2010 09:07:59)
Far from clear on whose jobs are going, or how many are to be created. ‘User generated content’) whatwe used to call reader submissions – there really is nothing new under the sun – needs careful subbing and will never match the quality of professional journalists’ work. ‘Product champions’ sound like weekly editors with lower salaries. How the MEN newsdesk is supposed to look after towns like Accrington and Macclesfield which are well outside the MEN’s core circulation area is anyone’s guess. Good luck to Maria McGeoghan, but it sounds like she’s managing decline.
Adam (13/07/2010 10:49:55)
Mr Osato’s been in the sun too long, but his arrogance sums up one of the problems in the industry. While reader submissions can’t just go straight on to a page, it’s now much easier for people to produce higher quality stuff. This idea that the journalist knows best is a busted thought – look at circulation trends. If newspapers are to reflect their communities, they have to be open to the submissions readers send in. Many newsrooms say they don’t have the time to deal with these submissions, so what’s wrong with employing someone to look after it? People like the Red Postman will happily lament the fact newspapers are produced too far away from their patch these days, but don’t come up with a realistic solution – asking for readers to get involved and show they care a bit is one way of doing that.
Local Lad (13/07/2010 10:51:41)
Guy Snowdon’s comment is flippant because it adds nothing to the debate. There’s something sad about the fact journalists will flock around bad news stories to score political points over their pay masters. Have a thought for those considering their futures rather than reveling in a ‘I told you so’ mentality please.
Sly Dig (13/07/2010 12:33:30)
Guy Snowdon is spot on, welcome to Trinity Mirror. He doesn’t really need to say anything more. For those of us who seen TM efficiency in action, it is cut, cut and then cut some more.
And Watchin, There won’t be job cuts, per se, What will happen is that stressed journalists will not be replaced, increasing the workload of already under-staffed newsrooms and the product (sorry paper) will begin its terminal decline.
metman (13/07/2010 12:36:43)
Rarther than predict the future it’s just bitter experience speaking. Having seen once popular weeklies deliberately undermined so that they don’t detract advertising revenues from the flagship title I have no reason to believe the MEN won’t do the same, especially the way classified advertising has shrunk. True it’s easy to knock paymasters, but the truth is people working for local papers can now only be doing it for the love of the job and see it as a vocation rather than a career. Try raising a family on less than 25k, it just won’t happen, and yet senior staff are supposed to work for less and churn out decent copy.
northernhack (13/07/2010 14:25:26)
‘User generated content’? ‘Product champions’? Brilliant! I would like to see how this works in practice. As someone who was once in charge of more than 20 community correspondents on the newsdesk of an evening paper in the 90s, I sympathise with anyone taking on that role. I spent most of my day chasing copy, dealing with their complaints about why their 800 word church service report had been hacked back to two pars, etc. And as for the conflict between the evening and weeklies about keeping exclusives, it’s a daily source of tension. Good luck to em.
the red postman (13/07/2010 15:36:42)
Adam, employing people who can write called journalists rather than relying on amateurs sending in rubbish would surely help improve the quality of the paper – isn’t that what we should be aiming for? Instead, you end up in a circle of decline where management cut costs due to sinking circulations and ad revenues, the qualit
y of the product gets worse thanks to added UGC, circulation and revenues fall further….repeat indefinitely until the paper closes/goes weekly/goes overnight.
Paul (13/07/2010 16:05:28)
Do high-quality and user-generated belong in the same sentence.
Adam (14/07/2010 09:45:09)
Red Postman – No-one’s saying newspapers shouldn’t employ journalists. But in an age where everyone can have a voice online, it’s arrogant to think journalists always know what’s best to go into their newspaper. People expect to have a say and be able to influence what appears in their newspaper. Beat reporting has always been about making contacts and getting information from lots of sources, so what’s the problem?
the red postman (14/07/2010 15:32:06)
Adam, I don’t disagree with people having a say about what goes in their paper; what I have a problem with is papers using untrained writers instead of ‘real’ journalists. As Northernhack says, whoever is put in charge of generating UGC will have a thankless task. In practice, I suspect a fair bit of copy will go in unsubbed which is a recipe for an expensive libel suit.