As reported on HTFP yesterday, the publisher has launched a new initiative called ‘Connected Newsroom’ which aims to build on its ‘digital first’ strategy rolled out last year.
It will mean increased use of audience data along with the introduction of individual and team audience goals to ensure editorial resources are focused on the most popular content.
Trinity Mirror says the move is “not about cutting or creating jobs” but admitted there would be “a handful” of redundancies on its Manchester, Huddersfield and Welsh titles along with the creation of some new roles.
In a statement this afternoon, the NUJ put the number of editorial job losses at the group’s Cardiff-based Media Wales division at four.
As well as voicing opposition to the proposed cutbacks, the union has also expressed concern at the introduction of individual website ‘click targets’ for journalists.
Martin Shipton, left, chair of the NUJ’s Trinity Mirror group chapel, said: “Once again Trinity Mirror has announced a development of its newsroom model in tandem with job losses.
“The group’s strategy for audience growth is based on greatly increasing website clicks – yet reducing the number of writers will make that more difficult to achieve.
“We are extremely concerned by the potential implications of setting individual click targets for journalists.
“At its worst, this could encourage reporters to sensationalise stories, to trivialise the news and make news out of trivia, and to give up on more challenging, public interest journalism that takes time to research and deliver.”
The Trinity proposals include using audience data to switch resource from the least popular to the most popular content.
The group also wants to introduce individual and team audience goals to ensure journalists are “working on the right stories at the right pace.”
However the union is asking for “firm assurances” from the company that it remains committed to quality journalism.
Added Martin: “The trust built up with communities over many years will evaporate quickly if we abandon their concerns in favour of generic, celebrity-focused ‘click bait’.”
Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, added: “This jargon laden announcement has set alarm bells jangling once again over the plans for more individual ‘audience goals’ for journalists which will make sure chillingly, that they are ‘working on the right stories at the right pace’.
“Future news content will be seemingly be decided on the basis of a popularity contest, but the ‘brand values’ cited are undefined. There needs to be proper tough analysis of these proposals before any steps are taken to roll this out.”
Trinity Mirror has yet to respond to the NUJ’s comments.
In a statement issued yesterday, it said the key aim of the initiative was to facilitate local audience growth, with “increased use of analytics and trends analysis to focus on producing content that audiences want to read.”