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Jobs under threat at fast-growing weekly

Journalists at a weekly paper recently named as one of the fastest-growing in the country are set to fight plans to make three staff redundant.

Circulation at the Johnston Press-owned Shoreham Herald was up 2.7pc in the recently published regional ABC figures.

But journalists at the paid-for title, which shares an office with the Worthing Herald, say their mood is far from celebratory with local management planning cutbacks.

It is understood that the posts under threat are those of Shoreham edition editor Michelle Nevell, along with two staff who work across the Herald series – entertainments editor Nikki Jeffrey and one of its two full-time sports reporters.

Now the Herald’s NUJ chapel has agreed to be balloted to take part in possible industrial action across the entire Johnston group.

“It’s desperately sad it’s come to this,” said a chapel spokesperson. “This is a small and, in normal times, moderate chapel. These, however, aren’t normal times.”

The Herald, which first appeared in 1920, is published by Sussex Newspapers Ltd which in turn is part of JP subsidiary Portsmouth Publishing and Printing Ltd.

Karl Dimmock, managing director of Sussex Newspapers, said: “The company has been undertaking a review of the Worthing editorial department structure and has made a proposal to make three positions redundant.

“We have been in a consultative period with the aim of reaching agreement on the proposal and examining ways of mitigating the effects on staff.

“We anticipate that this consultation process will be complete by today in the case of two of the positions and October 2 for the third.”


NG (11/09/2008 07:53:47)
Makes you wonder what’s the point of working hard to expand circulation and readership, and therefore attraction to advertisers, when you’ll still be out of a job.
When will these idiots realise that people will only read newspapers, websites or any other media if there’s something worth reading on them – and there won’t be without journalists who have time to do something other than cut and paste badly written press releases.

F.Johnston (11/09/2008 08:41:46)
Welcome to the wacky world of Johnston Press. Stupid, stupid, stupid. All the best to those involved.

Fan of Sly (11/09/2008 10:15:19)
“We’re found a winning formula guys – now let’s c*ck it up!” Any paper putting on sale should be a model for the rest of the industry – never mind useless managers hatching plots to ruin it.

FRIEND OF (11/09/2008 11:53:42)
A friend who once worked for JP tells me some JP regional groups are now top-heavy with central managers while local newsrooms are shrinking. Maybe JP should admit they are no longer interested in quality local papers and sell to someone who is.

lairygirl (11/09/2008 11:56:11)
Why on earth would anyone who is running a successful, profitable company sell up?

PeterM (12/09/2008 06:09:28)
It sells 4328 copies, so an increase of around 116 copies isn’t that significant. JP Probably are thinking about closing it. Welcome to the real world.
(ABC Jan June 2008).

jon buss (12/09/2008 08:50:01)
PeterM – absolutely no plans to close the Shoreham Herald or any of the titles produced from this centre.Worthing Herald showing 2.1 sales growth on 18,000, Shoreham up 2.7 as you know, and Littlehamton Gazette a creditable -1.5 on 10,000 after being in last year’s top 10 for growth. Websites are showing massive growth, with monthly UUs up 150 per cent on last year (now about 60,000 UUs a month over our three sites). It’s a flourishing centre with a bright future and great journalists – yes, we’re having to take some very tough decisions but as you rightly say, we’re in the real world.

Sheila (12/09/2008 10:30:01)
… and the real world is one in which talent isn’t worth twopence and shareholder dividends come before doing the job properly.

friend of (12/09/2008 11:22:57)
Jon Buss must be JP management.
JP are always bashing on about internet hits.
Real world question.
How much hard cash is this all making? Not even a fiver in every £100 of total income on local rags I am told.
Anyone know any better?

jon buss (12/09/2008 11:53:04)
friend of….To clarify, I’m the group editor of the centre at Worthing.
I did mention internet hits, but I also highlighted our newspaper sales success, too
sheila…have you seen our papers? We do the job properly.

Frank (12/09/2008 16:55:36)
This comes a scant surprise. On the occasions I’ve picked up papers in Shoreham and Worthing, they’ve struck me as being absolutely awful – a view shared by a great many in Sussex journalism. On a brighter note, they’ve still got some way to go to be as bad as local papers in Hastings and Bexhill.

jpnb (12/09/2008 19:54:10)
Frank – I’d be happy to send you our paper now so you can make an up-to-date judgment.