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Production jobs go as Trinity Mirror takes two daily titles weekly

Sarah PullenTwo sister dailies are set to become weeklies with the loss of five jobs, amid claims people only read the newspapers once a week.

Trinity Mirror has announced Gloucester daily The Citizen and Cheltenham-based stablemate the Gloucestershire Echo will make the switch in frequency from 12 October.

At the same time, a Gloucestershire edition of the Western Daily Press will be launched to cater for readers in the county who still want a daily print product.

TM has confirmed that there will be a net loss of up to five jobs as a result of the changes, with six of the existing nine Cheltenham-based production roles disappearing and one new one being created.

The frequency changes are the first to take place in the former Northcliffe group, now part of Trinity Mirror, since the Lincolnshire Echo, Scunthorpe Telegraph, Exeter Express & Echo and Torquay Herald Express went from daily to weekly in 2011.

Triniy Mirror itself took the Liverpool Daily Post weekly in the same year before closing the title altogether in December 2013.

In a memo to staff, which has been seen by HTFP, TM South West regional managing director Sarah Pullen said the change was being dictated by the “behaviour of our readers and the amazing growth success of our website Gloucestershire Live”.

Said Sarah: “We still have a loyal print audience but the majority of the people who read the Echo or the Citizen do so just once a week.

“Daily readership is coming more and more from our website Gloucestershire Live and our digital audience – not just on the site but across social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter – is showing amazing year-on-year growth. And our digital advertising revenues are growing at the same rate.

“By making this change, we’re acknowledging and reacting to how our readers behave. However, for readers who want a daily Gloucestershire print product, we will also be launching a Gloucestershire edition of The Western Daily Press.”

Sarah added: “The new weekly editions of the Echo and Citizen will be modern, busy and campaigning titles. They will be a comprehensive compendium of the week’s news with extra analysis, sport and lifestyle coverage.

“As part of the package, print readers will also get a new county-wide property guide and our popular GL magazine. The new editions will be good for advertisers, too, giving them a much-improved response and coverage of the county.”

The Echo will retain Tewkesbury and Forest editions,  while The Citizen will add a new edition for Stroud in place of Stroud Life, which , it is understood, will cease publication.

20 comments

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  • September 12, 2017 at 10:37 am
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    “It is not yet known whether any jobs will be affected.”
    Well, it doesn’t take the brains of an archbishop to work that little conundrum out, does it?

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  • September 12, 2017 at 10:41 am
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    I wonder how long some morning papers of all companies in cities with circulations as low as 11,000 can survive without becoming weeklies.

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  • September 12, 2017 at 11:09 am
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    Slight amendment/update to the above: existing weekly title Stroud Life is being scrapped, replaced by Stroud edition of new weekly Citizen (not Echo).
    Interesting to know five jobs are definitely going, when staff have yet to be fully informed, as meetings continue today.

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  • September 12, 2017 at 1:51 pm
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    If the “amazing growth” of the website was as “amazing” as Sarah Pullen suggests, presumably there would be no need to lose five members of staff.
    Can’t say hailing this as some kind of web success story strikes the right tone when five people are about to be made redundant.
    Dreadful effort, really.

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  • September 12, 2017 at 3:21 pm
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    Didn’t they do this to the Liverpool Daily Post a few years ago?
    How did that work out for them?
    Oh yeah. The Post was closed down about a year later.

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  • September 12, 2017 at 4:26 pm
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    On the one hand,what a surprise…not!
    On the other I feel more and more ailing dailies will soon be converted to once a week free titles by all regional publishers as there is no sense in throwing good money after bad on papers which have lacked investment and been allowed to suffer the death by a thousand cuts.

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  • September 12, 2017 at 6:07 pm
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    Why nothing on HTFP yet about TM making most of their regional subs redundant today?

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  • September 12, 2017 at 6:17 pm
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    There’s little evidence that going daily to weekly actually works, so good luck with this.

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  • September 12, 2017 at 7:05 pm
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    WHY on Earth do people accept the rubbish and spin of the regional paper management….unfortunately the newspaper industry has been taken over/hijacked by people who haven’t the first clue about the business.They THINK they know but they are soooo far wrong it is unbelievable.As I’ve said many times before…. If It Ain’t broke…DONT FIX IT. Fools who think they are directors/executives etc just dont have the first clue (and I refuse to accept arguments to the contary) The fools took many many really good papers and turned them from a silk purse into a pig’s ear.The prats saw ££££ signs in their eyes with No print costs, No transport costs and less staff thought they would make mega profits.Their greed and lack of management skill has killed the goose that laid the golden egg..This will eventually come full circle and the greedy fools will hve egg on their faces!!!

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  • September 13, 2017 at 9:18 am
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    I worked at the Gloucestershire Echo twice and the decision does make sense. The Bath Chronicle switched from a daily to a weekly in 2007 because the circulation didn’t justify a newspaper 6 days a week. However Trinity will still need to invest in weekly newspaper. The last ABC figures for Bath Chronicle show a 16.3% decline. If you don’t invest in a weekly paper for the long term the next step is no paper and Gloucestershire deserve better than that

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  • September 13, 2017 at 11:05 am
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    It is not just the internet that has dented newspaper sales. A key part of the problem is that people – I generalise – do not walk to/from or past a newspaper shop as they did when I was young. Many people these days drive to work and if they can’t find a parking space don’t bother to stop. When I “retired” from full time work as a journalist I worked part-time in a newsagent in the middle of the town where I lived not only to top up my pension but also to keep my brain active. The vast majority of those who came in to buy a paper – and their cigs – were older people. Very few young people came into the shop to buy a paper. Even those who did buy a paper mainly bt a daily and ignored the local weekly or evening – and those who did buy the latter 2 were, again, older people who had lived in their community for ages.

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  • September 13, 2017 at 11:14 am
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    Oh come on…. remember that when the Bath Chronicle changed from daily to weekly back in 2007 the world was a very different place and the digital landscape was not as it is today. Ten years on readers have moved online – revenue has disappeared and changing to weekly publishing might reduce some cost savings in the short term but it’s not going to attract more readers or more revenue. You cannot use the experience of Bath to determine what will happen in Gloucester or Cheltenham. The Bath Chronicle sale today is 50% less than it was when it switched in 2007 and my guess is after the first couple of weeks the sale of both Gloucestershire titles will be pretty much the same as it is now – only once a week and not 6 times a week with the hope being that the lost circulation monies will be compensated for by an increased weekly cover price, reduced print and production costs and less staff. This will not generate a penny extra in ad revenue. Alsoreaders will turn to online for Gloucestershire news not the WDP and sadly the revenues won’t follow and inevitably more cost mitigation will follow.

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  • September 13, 2017 at 12:04 pm
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    Perhaps one of the reason why sales of papers is dropping because of the poor content and quality of writing. And accuracy doesn;t seem to count either. One daily said in a headline that Weston-super-Mare is a ‘city”. That headline appeared last month but the paper has not bothered to correct it.

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  • September 13, 2017 at 12:20 pm
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    TM are on their commercial reviews and making cuts and savings where they think they can do in many senses It makes sense to consolidate two ailing daily papers into a weekly but let’s face it, the audiences for these titles have gone,news is sourced I’d say 99% on line so this is just smoke and mirrors to save costs initially and to eventually close and save more costs ( and FTEs) on what will become an ailing weekly paper.

    All this talk about reader habits and growing digital readerships of the local papers websites is rubbish. In this day and age irrespective of geography people turn to the main web sites for news.

    This is just a cost cutting excercise no more no less it’s just a pity they’ve not been upfront about it, but smiling axemen ( and women rarely are)

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  • September 13, 2017 at 12:45 pm
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    I’m struggling to believe Sarah’s claim that digital ad revenues are seeing amazing growth (along with the other unsubstantiated claim that people only read these papers once a week).
    Why would any business want to spend money on digital advertising when most of this new breed of digital desk jockey are urging reporters to give it away for free? eg “Greggs are doing something new and it’s AMAZING” Greggs/Tesco/B&M/Marks & Spencer et al must be laughing all the way to the bank.

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  • September 13, 2017 at 5:45 pm
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    2011 did not see the most recent instances of frequency changes in the Trinity Mirror/former Northcliffe group: the Bristol Post discontinued its Saturday edition in 2012, and currently appears only Monday-Friday.

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  • September 14, 2017 at 12:30 pm
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    Scooper, it’s nothing to do with quality. It’s all about relevance and accessibility. Printed newspapers are gradually becoming more irrelevant and less accessible to local audiences due to changes in consumer behaviour and advances in technology.

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  • September 14, 2017 at 5:24 pm
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    Actually, another Trinity Mirror/ex-Northcliffe publication-frequency change occurred more recently than the Bristol Post’s: the Exeter Express & Echo reverted to weekly appearance a few months ago, following a few years of publishing on Mondays and Thursdays (with a bizarrely wide circulation chasm between each day). In turn, its initial weekly-isation had supplanted decades of six-day-a-week issues. In its prime, the E & E had, like most major local papers, published several editions per day.

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