The Carlisle-based CN Group has announced plans to centralise three of its titles under a single editor and reduce the number of production and photographic roles.
HTFP understands that a third of the existing 21 production roles are likely to go and that two editor positions are also under threat.
The company said in a statement: “CN Group has today announced a series of proposals to restructure its editorial operation and opened up a company-wide voluntary redundancy scheme.
“In a series of briefings, staff at all centres were told the financial performance of the business needs to improve to help maintain its ability to invest in its future and sustainability. As such the company is looking to reduce editorial costs by £600,000 a year to help improve financial results.
“The proposals include centrally managing a reduced number of production journalists working across all titles. Similarly, it is proposed there will be a smaller team of centrally-managed photographers.
“In West Cumbria it is proposed staff on three titles – Times & Star, Whitehaven News and News and Star West – would be merged into one West Cumbria team, under the leadership of one editor. All titles and offices will continue to operate.”
News & Star editor and group editorial director David Helliwell, pictured, said: “Like all in the local media business, we cannot hide from some tough choices.
“The proposals announced today would put our titles on a stronger financial footing while retaining our ability to cover our communities thoroughly. Our priority now is to consult fully with all staff who would be affected.”
Applications for voluntary redundancy will be open until Wednesday 17 February.
The announcement comes shortly after the retirement of long-serving CN chief executive Robin Burgess at the end of January. His family continue to own the group.