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Eight jobs set to go at Valleys weeklies

Eight jobs including two editors positions are set to go at a series of weekly titles in South Wales as a result of a shake-up announced today.

Currently each of the seven Celtic weeklies in the Trinity Mirror-owned Media Wales network has its own editor, but it is now proposed that most of the titles will share a boss.

The company has also announced plans to close three of its six branch offices in the Valleys, at Aberdare, Ebbw Vale and Neath.

NUJ members working at Media Wales have already voted to hold a strike ballot if any members are threatened with compulsory redundancy as a result of the changes.

The seven titles affected are the Merthyr Express, Rhymney Valley and Gwent Gazette, Rhondda Leader, Pontypridd Observer, Cynon Valley Leader, Glamorgan Gazette and Neath and Port Talbot Guardian.

It is proposed that there will be one editor for Merthyr Express and Rhymney Valley and Gwent Gazette, one for the Rhonda Leader and Pontypridd Observer, one for the Cynon Valley Leader and a fourth for the Glamorgan Gazette and the Neath and Port Talbot Guardians.

A new position of West Wales Multimedia editor will also be created to ensure continued development of editorial coverage of the patch west of Cardiff.

Media Wales says the overall effect will be to reduce the number of editors by two.

The closure of the three branch offices will lead to the loss of two senior reporters’ posts while one inputter’s post will also be lost.

A company statement said: “Each of the six branch offices represents a significant cost to the business, however the use of new technology means that a physical presence at each of these locations is no longer essential.”

The three branch offices which will remain open are those in Merthyr, Bridgend and Pontypridd.

The company is also proposing to reduce the number of production journalists in the main Cardiff newsroom by two, and the number of managers in the newsroom by one. A formal 30-day period of consultation with all staff affected by the announcement has begun.

Martin Shipton, NUJ joint father of the chapel, said: “We have voted unanimously to hold a ballot for industrial action if it emerges during talks with management that there is a real threat of any NUJ member being made redundant.

“We strongly deplore the planned job cuts and the closure of district offices, a poor way of repaying the loyalty shown by readers in the communities affected over many years.”


Nik Kershaw (14/11/2008 11:06:33)
How many is this now? What’s the running total? I’d be interested to see an audit of ALL the regional press jobs lost in the past 12 months. There’s Trinity in B’ham, the Archant newsroom mingling in Norfolk and Suffolk, all the Glasgow debacle, the south-east weeklies, Newsquest here, there and everywhere. The truth should be told – all the commentators are shying away from revealing the true devastation to livelihoods

Observer (14/11/2008 11:17:51)
Nik – the commentators ARE the papers. How many times have you seen other job losses trumpeted across newspaper headlines, but never when it happens IN newspapers. He who pays the piper and all that.
Sly won’t be happy until a load of robots prepare ‘news’ for local consumption, and not proper journalists who know what readers want. Her and the Media Wales cronies are destroying the Valleys papers, and don’t give two hoots because they’re raking it in while the rest struggle.

Analyser (14/11/2008 12:27:00)
Get real, people. The world is changing and companies that don’t reform will die. Newspapers of the future will not be the 30% margin cash cows of the past and structures need to change to reflect the new reality.

Alex (14/11/2008 13:36:01)
Sly Bailey has been regularly cutting back on jobs at Media Wales for years, despite the fact that it is one of the most profitable centres of Trinity Mirror.
Yes, there is a credit crunch but a profit of 34% in previous years isn’t exactly shabby. If the bosses hadn’t been so concerned with making a quick buck to line shareholders pockets, they could have the resources to weather the financial storm.
Instead, the staff and the readers suffer.
The company say that “the use of new technology means that a physical presence at each of these locations is no longer essential.” I think that says it all about their attitude to quality journalism and the people they serve.

peedoff (17/11/2008 12:34:48)
This is the latest in a battering for Cardiff staff. Expect more, especially as managers in the newsroom are sat around doing production journalists jobs because they haven’t got anything to do themselves.
They place is top, top heavy with managers on massive salaries but it’s the little people who get the boot. They should sack Sly Bailey and save a fortune. Journalism R.I.P.

beyondbelief (17/11/2008 14:33:20)
How arrogant of Media Wales to say “a physical presence is no longer required” at these locations. What they and other newspaper companies consistently forget is that they didn’t create papers like the Neath Guardian.
The likes of Media Wales have been built up by directors seeking to expand their empires as well as for the (supposed) benefit of shareholders.
But when newspapers began their raison d’etre was not simply about making a buck but – believe it or not – actually serving the community.
My sympathies go to staff affected by this bone-headed decision in the run-up to the ‘festive’ season – I wonder who will be next?

Annoyed journalist (17/11/2008 15:14:23)
This is the latest blow for staff at Media Wales following cutback after cutback and a year-long recruitment freeze. How can papers serve their communities when they are based 10 to 20 miles away? We are told constantly that newspaper sales are falling because no-one wants to buy papers. But is it any wonder sales are falling when there are barely enough journalists to fill a paper and when they aren’t even working from the communities they serve? These cutbacks are another swipe at quality journalism at Media Wales where morale was already gut-wrenchingly low. Journalism is in crisis and it’s time this crisis was taken seriously. The jobs of management, not reporters, should be cut. Well said peedoff, Sly Bailey should go. Her salary alone would save the jobs of dozens of reporters. It’s absolutely shameful.