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Trinity Mirror announces job cuts at South West titles

Marketing picturesMarketing picturesMore jobs are set to go with other new roles being created at two of Trinity Mirror’s regional centres as the company’s rolling restructure continues.

Around 12 redundancies are expected in Cornwall after plans were unveiled to replace three weekly newspaper companion websites with a single site covering the whole county.

The changes, which are in line with those already announced at the company’s titles in Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Kent and Essex, will also see an unspecified number of new roles created.

In a separate move, the company has announced what amounts to a net increase of two roles at its Newcastle centre, with four posts at risk, four new ones created, and two vacant positions being filled.

The Cornwall changes will mainly affect the Truro-based weekly titles the West Briton, The Cornishman and the Cornish Guardian.

Their existing websites will disappear and be replaced by a new site covering the whole of Cornwall but with hyperlocal content.

A Trinity Mirror spokesperson said:  “We have announced the proposals for the new newsroom structure in Cornwall. In line with the strategy and approach across Trinity Mirror, the proposed changes are built around a digital strategy backed by an editorial structure which ensures we are adapting to the changing landscape and growing a local and engaged audience.

“The proposed changes will see the launch of a new website covering the whole of Cornwall but with hyperlocal content, to replace the current three websites we have. This has been a successful model in other areas and helps us to better serve our audience with the information they want and need in one place.

“Our team of patch reporters across Cornwall will work alongside an expanded content desk and production team. We anticipate some redundancies but will also create a number of new roles aimed at improving the content we produce for all platforms, including our print titles the West Briton, Cornishman and Cornish Guardian.

“Elsewhere, there are some proposed changes in Newcastle which would see a handful of roles made redundant but more roles created / filled. This is part of ensuring we have colleagues covering the topics that are most relevant to our audience.”

According to the National Union of Journalists, the Newcastle changes will see the loss of two photographer roles, an agenda writer and a social media editor.

The new roles being created are for a head of content, head of audience engagement, a fan writer for Newcastle and Sunderland football teams and a Sunderland city writer. In additon existing vacancies for a multi-media journalist and a content curator will be filled.

Commenting on the Newcastle announcement, Chris Morley, NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser, said: “The merry-go-round of misery continues within Trinity Mirror with a central group strategy that is still not answering the key question our members pose – when will digital growth bring with it the revenue needed to sustain quality journalism?

“In Newcastle’s case, we see the axe poised over a number of roles that considerably assist in driving up digital hits – particularly photographic where we know online picture galleries are generally very successful and videos which we have been led to believe drive digital revenue.

“We will be looking closely at the company’s policy to rely increasingly on freelance photographers. The sad fact is that low pay rates and high capital costs are driving individuals out of the news sector so the company’s ability to use freelances in the future is very much open to question.

“We will be supporting all our members put at risk by these latest proposals and expect that where individuals wish to stay, suitable work is found for them.”

19 comments

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  • June 16, 2016 at 3:05 pm
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    Sorry for the Cornwall staff; must re-read Scoop, Evelyn Waugh’s blackly comic account of a Head of Audience Engagement. That’s the spirit TM – stuff the the lot of ’em.

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  • June 16, 2016 at 3:36 pm
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    Seriously I have lost count of all the acing, job losses, consultation processes and general decimation in all the groups within the regional press this year
    Complete carnage and unlikely to get any better
    All good people still remaining in the regional press, it really is time to jump ship before the decision to off load you is taken by others, none of the big groups deserve anyone’s loyalty these days.

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  • June 16, 2016 at 5:10 pm
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    All three have been excellent titles in print, giving their local communities an outstanding service. Under some outstanding editors. If digital really is the future why are so many websites being scrapped? Cost v income? If I live in Cornwall, say near Plymouth (which I do), why would I want to know what’s happening many miles away in Falmouth? Which I don’t.

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  • June 16, 2016 at 6:42 pm
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    I’m really puzzled about the Newcastle jobs cuts. I’ve just read elsewhere on this site that the Chron is tearing up Facebook and mashing the hell out of Twitter. Why would they need to cut jobs when they are wallowing in billions of likes and have Twitter followers queuing round the block?

    All that money from the Internet? Surely some mistake?

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  • June 16, 2016 at 9:16 pm
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    It’s fake. Not one mention of the word ‘synergy’ – that’s the giveaway.

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  • June 16, 2016 at 10:33 pm
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    Surely you got that wrong in the first par – it’s not rolling restructure but rolling destruction, isn’t it?

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  • June 16, 2016 at 11:09 pm
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    More “Hi I am X from $publication, can we use this picture? We will credit you” ….

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  • June 17, 2016 at 8:55 am
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    I’m just back from Cornwall and so naturally picked up a copy of the West Briton… wow!

    An exciting new redesign left me gasping for words. My aged eyes were bamboozled as to where to turn. There was so much – telling me what was on other pages – that I almost missed the story on page 3.

    The colour! Oh, the colour!

    And fonts… they like fonts, none in particular it seems. In regular and bold and italics. Of all different sizes too.

    In fact it was clear that so much energy is being expended and literally flying off the page that they barely have any time to bother with stories.

    Former readers of my acquaintance told me they’ve just stopped buying it and now turn to BBC Radio Cornwall, which they say is pretty dire itself.

    And now this! Come back the Cornish Independent all is forgiven!

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  • June 17, 2016 at 9:37 am
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    And if I’ve got my geography right, Devon – I would imagine – is next.

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  • June 17, 2016 at 10:19 am
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    As ever in these situations, those in senior roles who have jockeyed themselves into the right positions more through ingratiation and blind willingness to do ‘whatever it takes’ than having any inmate talent are safe in their roles. They are quite willing to go along with the decimation of once great newspapers in the mad rush for digital. Walls have ears though, my good friends and we know exactly what it is you are up to.

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  • June 17, 2016 at 11:43 am
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    OK, so we all know that corporate regional print’s days are numbered as a platform to deliver the work of journalists, and the adverts of paying clients. The evolution to digital platforms is proving very painful, but it seems TM at least have some sort of plan. By creating regional websites that cover huge geographical areas, there are opportunities for readers to filter content to only subjects/areas that interest them. The TM mobile apps are a good indication of how this will eventually work. By covering such large areas, advertisers will be able to target their desired locales, or use even more demographic data as more readers register for the site (which they are incentivised to do for various reasons). Websites are also being opened in areas without a print product, giving them even greater geographical coverage (presumably for national clients…). That seems to be the plan, but whether this will work or not, I think we’ll find out sooner rather than later. Bearing this in mind, I’d suggest any journalist hoping to eke out a career under this new structure would be better off going freelance, or starting their own hyper-local paper.

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  • June 17, 2016 at 11:58 am
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    BBC Cornwall ran this on Tuesday with a great quote from a p*****d off staff member saying “TM don’t want journalists, they want Twitter monkeys”.
    HTFP might like to enquire across the Tamar in Guz where a photographic department of a TM daily was effectively wiped out yesterday, and then maybe proceed up the coast to another TM weekly where the expression “re-apply for your jobs” has been bandied around by pen-pushers and number crunchers

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  • June 17, 2016 at 12:46 pm
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    “Well what happened”: Agreed, TM is trying to find a commercial model to replace the traditional newspaper one that is now all but bust. Your doubt about whether what it has chosen – Newsroom 3.1 (“digital first!”) – will work or not is valid too. As you say, we should find out in the very near future, as the beancounters will be looking very hard at revenue generated by the new system from day one in each centre where it is implemented. After three months (the end of September, say) they should have a good idea where it”s going; by Christmas conclusions will have been reached. It’s my feeling that then the board, the chief executive, and the City institutional shareholders will have some very hard decisions to make indeed, involving upheaval to jobs and lives on a scale we haven’t gotten close to yet. In light of this, your concluding career advice is most apposite.

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  • June 17, 2016 at 1:42 pm
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    I think this a pointer for whole industry. If it goes pear-shaped, and I hope it succeeds, it will send shock waves through the world of newspapers-websites.
    If digital does not improve its financial performance soon companies will be facing some tough decisions on staffing levels.

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  • June 17, 2016 at 1:46 pm
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    One day a murder will happen and the victim won’t be on Facebook, friends won’t Tweet their grief, their career will not be documented on LinkedIn, and there will be no galleries of their life on Instagram, no videos of the police at the scene on Snapchat or even a video of the act on Vine, no one will have thought to have uploaded anything on YouTube.

    And the “reporting team” team won’t have a clue what to do and it won’t matter… because they will be cheap.

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  • June 17, 2016 at 4:24 pm
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    Percy Hoskins…you are right. Except that instead of a single murder, it could be a serial killer, a massive criminal conspiracy, or a massive fraud – and the public won’t find out about it until the damage has been done.

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  • June 17, 2016 at 6:02 pm
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    If titles can get closed and merged, with the best content pulled upwards and content hubs pushing downwards.

    Is there really a need for local titles in the TM system, why not just merge the lot ?

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