Job cuts are planned across Johnston Press as part of a group-wide reorganisation, the company’s editor-in-chief has told staff.
All JP staff were sent a memo by Jeremy Clifford this morning outlining the rationale behind the proposals, which will see job reductions across “a number of areas”.
According to the memo, further announcements giving more specific detail of how individual publishing centres are affected will be made this afternoon.
The restructure comes after the company’s ‘Newsroom of the Future’ initiative, which sees journalists working across multiple titles within the same region, was introduced nationwide after an initial trial in September 2014.
In the memo, which has been seen by HTFP, Jeremy states the business now needs to look at “further changes to our newsrooms”.
He adds the company is reviewing the structure within “every newsroom”, and consideration is being given to whether there is the right mix of managers, writers and “those who curate and collate content from our communities”.
Jeremy continues: “I want to be open with you, too, and say that we have had to look at the cost of providing that content with a view to making savings where we can appropriate to the business needs of the company.
“As part of our workings we have looked at every opportunity to find ways of making improvements in the way we work and any efficiencies to minimise any impact on staff.”
In sections under the subheadings ‘What it might mean’ and ‘What could the impact be?’, he adds: “We have reorganised some of our former publishing units, to better reflect the geography of our brands, as (chief executive) Ashley Highfield outlined at the end of 2015.
“We expect the review of our newsroom structures will lead to a reorganisation for some of our teams as well. In some cases that will mean a reduction in team sizes.
“We have identified a number of areas where job reductions will come from and how that may affect different teams directly. Later today a number of announcements will be made about some of those proposals.
“These will set out our intention but it will take some time to work out the detail of those changes and how we want our organisations to operate in future.”
Jeremy, who was appointed to his new group-wide role in December as part of a management restructure, goes on to say the plans will be looked at over the next month, with the possibility of working groups being set up to look at workflows, technology requirements and structures.
He concludes: “I know, and appreciate, that this is not news you want to hear, especially after such a challenging year. The rate and pace of change is unsettling and sometimes it feels pretty relentless. I wanted to set out the context of why we are taking these actions.
“We will keep talking to you, and more importantly we’ll keep listening. Your feedback is important to the future of the company, and we value it.
“Those centres directly impacted will be informed later today, but every editorial director will be giving more information to their teams about the proposals.”
Johnston Press has declined to comment further on the plans.