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Archant completes newsroom review

A review of newsgathering at many of Archant’s regional newspapers has been completed with no resulting redundancies, the group has said.

The company brought in consultants to look at editorial departments at Archant Norfolk, Archant Suffolk, Archant Herts & Cambs and its London weeklies in the summer, sparking fears amongst staff that jobs could be cut.

But the group has now said that although some efficiencies had been identified, this would allow resources to be redeployed towards the web.

As we reported in August, the review was expected to be completed around Christmas time.

The titles involved included the Ipswich Evening Star, Norwich Evening News, Eastern Daily Press, East Anglian Daily Times and dozens of weeklies including the Welwyn & Hatfield Times, Hampstead & Highgate Express and Lowestoft Journal.

Peter Swallow, MD of Archant Suffolk, said: “We have completed a review of our editorial department, led by our two daily paper editors.

“It found that we already have a very efficient operation producing top quality papers and websites, while identifying a few improved working practices.

“We will use any resources made available by implementing these to develop our printed products and also to enhance our web content, where we are putting a lot of effort into such things as digital editions of our papers and online video.”

Barry Dennis, MD of Archant Norfolk, said: “Following an editorial review we have agreed existing staff numbers for the 2007 budget and have no plans for further changes at this time. The editors have decided not to fill four existing vacancies.

“Under the current economic climate we, like all UK media businesses, will continue to look for efficiencies within the business, but we remain committed to giving a top quality local news service for all of Norfolk.

“All of our weekly newspapers now have their own websites with daily news updates and later this year we are opening two new offices in Dereham and Fakenham.”

Archant Herts & Cambs MD Stuart McCreery added: “It was an interesting exercise which looked at editorial from an alternative perspective and has allowed us to review our processes and come up with solutions to free up more time to work on our web offering.”

Archant London managing editor Richard Thomson said the review had been completed, with no resulting job losses.

The review is understood to have included newsdesks, reporters and features departments, with the focus on how content is gathered.

The four divisions involved employ some 500 editorial staff between them. Do you have a story about the regional press?
Ring 0116 227 3122/3121, or e-mail:
patrick.astill@and.co.uk