26 July 2014

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Editor faces redundancy prospect after six weeks in job

A weekly newspaper editor in the North West is facing possible redundancy after just six weeks in the job as a result of changes announced by Johnston Press.

Nicola Adam was appointed editor of the Chorley Guardian in March after predecessor Chris Maguire joined business magazine North West Insider.

But her role is now being combined with that of editor of the Lancashire Evening Post as part of a wide-ranging editorial shake-up announced earlier this month.

As a result Nicola’s role has been placed at risk of redundancy along with those of the editors of a series of other daily and weekly titles affected by the changes.

The 11 April announcement, which also saw the departure of LEP editor Simon Reynolds after 11 years in the chair, will see eight existing editor roles in the region reduced to four.

As well as combining the LEP editorship with that of the Chorley Guardian, the company proposes to amalgamate the editor roles at the Blackpool Gazette with those of the Lytham St Anne’s Express and the Fleetwood Weekly News; the Burnley Express with the Nelson Leader and Clitheroe Advertiser and Times; and the Lancaster Guardian with the Garstang Courier.

Before becoming editor at Chorley, Nicola had been deputy news editor at the Preston-based LEP and was also in charge of all features content including the relaunch of the new LEP What’s On platform.

She has also previously worked as chief reporter in the paper’s Lancaster office.

Johnston Press said last week that it was in consultation with all staff affected by its proposed changes and that further announcements will follow in due course.

The company declined to comment further on Nicola’s specific case when questioned by HTFP.

The roles of deputy editor of the Blackpool Gazette, Lancashire Evening Post and Wigan Evening Post are also disappearing as part of the same restructure.

However LEP deputy editor Mike Hill is being strongly tipped by insiders to take on the top job in Preston following Simon’s departure.

14 Comments

  1. Cherrywonder

    It’s a new low.
    You look around the regions now and all you see is an embarrassing cloud of chaos and clueless management foundering on all fronts.
    If we were reporting on ourselves, we’d give the execs a proper monstering while calling for immediate resignations.

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  2. Curious

    This is all sadly familiar. Groups are ditching the people who champion a patch and casting aside their deputies too.
    It’s a desperately short-sighted move and signals another twist in the downward spiral to eventual oblivion.
    In the meantime, it also pulls up the drawbridge on career promotions in an industry which is badly paid to begin with.

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  3. JP Journo

    What a disgraceful way to treat people !

    Report this comment

  4. Aman

    JP is increasingly demonstrating that it does not value or have any respect for its editors.

    Build your platform neutral empire, Highfield. But be warned that without decent quality content it’s all irrelevant.
    And the more editors you axe, the more quality will suffer.

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  5. Frustrated

    This is an utterly disgraceful thing to do. Either they knew when the job was advertised that they were thinking of scrapping the post, which is nasty and unethical, or they didn’t and this is further evidence that they are running round like headless chickens in JP and don’t know what they are doing from one week to the next. Editors all across JP must be looking over their shoulders right now and wondering when the axe will fall.

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  6. Scribbler

    Frustrated, it’s the latter. They have no strategy except slash and burn (which, in newspapers, ain’t the wisest thing to do!)

    Report this comment

  7. In Cod We Trust, All at sea.

    Another day, another PR cock-up.

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  8. larry

    Fools at the top

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  9. oh dear

    But journalism is all about uploading press releases, isn’t it – from the mouth of one of our very senior ad managers.
    This is the attitude of many companys to editorial and they see editors as managers who aren’t really needed. Bit like subs really.

  10. Ex-Insider

    More and more companies regard the traditional newspaper editor as an outmoded concept. He / she is merely a junior wing of the management structure. The argument goes: Why employ five editors to manage 20 staff each when you can employ one editor to manage 100? It’s only so much paperwork. And if you don’t employ editors, why employ deputy editors? It’s simple management rationale. The only people in the industry who talk about quality editorial are those at the sharp end trying to produce it.

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  11. Crowman

    “Quality editorial”.
    I remember that – came with local knowledge, getting out in your patch and producing stories that matter, not rehashing police press releases and council newsletters to fill in the holes between ads.
    What a load of wasters.

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  12. gladimoutofit

    Surely must be a record – shortest tenure as an editor?

    Report this comment

  13. Tim Gillett, Cambridge

    I was recently headhunted by a local Archant newspaper – just three weeks before it was shut down. After 12 years as a freelancer I was tempted back into the world of ‘steady’ work as head of content at Cambridge First … bit of a joke that turned out to be!

    The story from the Chorley Guardian feels depressingly familiar.

    It astonishes me that a national company can be allowed to take on staff in the knowledge that it is going to close the publication in question – and within the law, it would seem. The really ironic thing is that all the sales people on the Cambridge newspaper were found jobs elsewhere within Archant.

    Good luck to you Nicola … and if anyone needs an experienced freelancer… :)

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  14. semi retired, north

    After nearly 50 years in journalism the current state of play leaves me in despair with the song “fools rush in” springing to mind.

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