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Journalists jobs to go in Cambridge and Burton

A number of editorial jobs are set to go at the Cambridge News, Burton Mail and associated weeklies, managers at the Iliffe-owned titles confirmed today.

Around 80 jobs in total are to go at Cambridge Newspapers and Staffordshire Newspapers, which own the two daily titles along with a series of weekly papers.

Staff at the News were told this morning that around 40 posts in all were being axed, with a similar number set to go at the Staffordshire centre, although these totals include distribution and commercial staff as well as journalists.

David Fordham, group media director of Iliffe News and Media, confirmed that restructuring plans had been put forward at both centres.

“Like every regional press company and media business at the moment we are looking at the structure of our organisation and trying to make changes to cope with the downturn that’s going on in the advertising environment. These announcements reflect that,” he said.

A formal 30-day consultation period on the proposals has now begun and is due to conclude shortly before Christmas.

Mr Fordham said that the Staffordshire plans included a proposal to close the Burton Mail’s district office at Swadlincote in Derbyshire and stressed that the proposals covered not just the daily titles but weekly titles covered by both centres.

These include Your Leek, the Staffordshire Newsletter, the Ashbourne News Telegraph, the Uttoxeter Advertiser and around ten free weeklies in the Cambridge area.

Mr Fordham was unable to confirm the exact number of editorial jobs set to go but said that it was “less than half” of the overall total.

But one Cambridge News insider said: “This is in a newsroom already hacked to the bone, so these cuts are brutal.”

“It has already got so bad that news reporters are now having to cover sports events at the weekends because there aren’t enough sports reporters to do the job,” he added.

The paper recently went from four editions – two morning and two evening – to a single morning edition.


Herr Flick (19/11/2008 08:50:54)
The loyal Cambridge workers take another massive hit by a senior management that couldn’t run a chip shop.

Harry Ramsden (19/11/2008 09:26:42)
Hold on a minute… it takes dedication, talent and the ability to work under pressure plus the knowledge required to deliver an acceptable product to the public to run a successfull chip shop. Perhaps his lordship (DF) would like a few tips. I really am getting worried, with all these newspapers closing down who is going to supply me the paper to wrap my chips in.

Barry Brown (19/11/2008 09:30:51)
Great workers
Horrendous bosses
I hope the smug gits at the top walk and reflect on the way they have treated some of their staff down the years – totally deplorable.
The bull in a china shop approach just doesn’t work in the delicate world of journalism when most are clinging onto the ‘enjoyment of the job’ to balance out comparative poor pay to friends and family.
I saw it coming a year ago – I just feel for the staff who work so hard.

Realist (19/11/2008 10:06:19)
Restructuring is sad and brutal – but unfortunately it is necessary. If the management just tootled on without making efficiencies then the whole company would go under and everyone would lose their jobs.

Saveloy (19/11/2008 10:11:01)
Cambridge Newspapers made £6m profit alone last year – and has done for the past four or five years – and has just unveiled a new £9m press.It just shows where the priorities are. Why not close district offices around Cambridge that have about two customers a day before shedding journalists. But that would mean the profit per head of staff ratio wouldn’t look so good on the balance sheet. And why, when they are dumping journos do they need an editor-in-chief, and editor of the daily and a Weeklies editor? More chiefs than indians!!! As for Burton – it’s going for one!

Fred Page (19/11/2008 10:33:55)
Is there going to be anyone left? What gets my goat is that the CEN (sorry CN – it long ago ceased being a real evening paper) recently hired an editor-in-chief (a former editor who was shunted sideways to look after one of Iliffe’s weekly series a few years back) and a new editor (who has NEVER worked on a daily newspaper, but coincidentally worked under the new editor-in-chief) Happy to waste the money getting the management ‘sorted’ but not intersted in trying to sustain what was once a great newspaper.

Observer (19/11/2008 10:36:42)
Is it me, or has the credit crunch become a great excuse for newspaper groups to do what they were going to do all along anyway, get rid of the people who make their products worth reading at the expense (excuse the pun!) of quality.
I was under the impression that so-called ‘business leaders’ should foresee problems and prepare for them. Newspaper people call it forward planning.
I wonder if these job losses will make the splash like ones in other industries undoubtedly would in these titles.

hacked off (19/11/2008 17:18:26)
The people who run Iliffe couldn’t run a bath, let alone a newspaper company. As for the web – they have about as much idea about that as Rod Hull had about TV repair

One time reader and advertiser (19/11/2008 18:45:22)
CN lost its way about 10 years ago, very few of the staff have any local contacts or knowledge because they moved to the area for the job. It was a lot better when journalists worked in the paper where they grew up. The grapevine of local gossip is, as a rule two, weeks ahead of the CN so called “exclusives”.

still a reader – for now (19/11/2008 18:54:44)
It’s nothing to do with not having local staff – there are a lot of good journalists working at the News, many of whom are local, but they cannot do their jobs effectively because of management decisions.

Alexander the Great (19/11/2008 19:56:04)
There is only one phrase which fits this brutal decision by a company which is already profitable -corporate greed

The Toaster (19/11/2008 20:01:58)
For too long, the only “bright commercial ideas” have been those which have been suggested by management . . . we, in Staffordshire, are reaping the bitter harvest of of great ideas being swept aside. Cascade meetings are OK, but the cascade is from the top down – reversing the process could have reaped rich dividends. So sad, so very sad.

Iliffe watcher (20/11/2008 01:55:30)
Amazing how the current financial situation means Iliffe have to cut jobs not just in Cambridge but all across the group, but at the same time can afford to buy up newspapers such as the Northamspton Herald and Post. Stop insulting our intelligence, Mr Fordham.

Bald Loser (20/11/2008 10:34:34)
The chairman has an appalling track record of senior appointments (who tend to get moved sideways. He couldn’t pick a winner in a one horse raise. Shame he is never judged on his personal track record.

Media Pundit (20/11/2008 11:04:47)
What a load of bollocks…. the comments that is!
If you hadn’t noticed we are in a recession and I expect Iliffe is on the brink of closing and fighting for survival – just like all the other media orgainsations. I read that the Tribune group in the US have just made 30% of the workforce redundant – 6000 employees…. that General Motors are on the brink of shutting, that CitiBank are losing 75,000 members of staff and Lloyds 6,000 minimum etc etc. Why don’t your commentators wake up and smell the coffee rather than winge, whine and gripe how bad the manegement is. Oh and No, I’m not connected to Iliffe nor am I in management!!!

Bad Management Watch (20/11/2008 11:45:21)
As with any staff member, a manager’s task is to predict ahead and make sure the business works well in any economic circumstances.
Managers today seem only able to cut rather than amend and adjust.
Strange that many of us foresaw and reported the downturn but were ignored, especially by management.
And, will managers lose t
heir jobs over current profit falls? Unlikely but let’s watch and wait!

Hacked Off (20/11/2008 13:05:04)
Yes, there’s a recession and difficult decisions have to be made. The problem is that it’s hard to imagine anyone less suitable for getting us through the downturn than Iliffe management. Staff have become accustomed to cuts and reshuffles that are based on short-term thinking if they’re based on any form of thinking at all. Decisions sometimes seem completely random and bizarre – it’s like living in Rome under some insane emperor or working in a medieval court where decisions on based on illogical favouritism rather than realism or vision.
As staff levels fall it’s inevitable that the papers will suffer, and become blander, narrower and sometimes less accurate products. The management also seems under some illusion that there will be some great big take-off for the web, but that’s not going to happen with a dwindling number of employees. The ultimate result is that nothing ends up being done that well. We could well be left too weak to ever get out of this recession unless the management learn to look beyond the next quarter’s profits.

old matey (20/11/2008 13:38:27)
nice one crying over the internet

Free Lance (20/11/2008 13:44:06)
Here’s what Iliffe News Media needs to do:
1. Stop putting all your eggs in the internet basket, it’s not how people read local news and it’s certainly not how they watch local news (and, while we’re on the subject, get rid of some of those dreadful blogs – the fitness challenge and petrol head ones can be junked for a start).
2. Recognise what an excellent newsman you have in John Deex and move him off “web duties” and back to centre-stage. Oh yeah, and listen to him when he tells you he needs you to stop trimming his team, he’s the best chance the paper has got.
3. Think very, very carefully before doing anything else to pull the rug from beneath an already demoralised news team: your product is supposed to be a newspaper, the operative word being ‘news’, and you forget that at your peril.

The Write Stuff (20/11/2008 15:34:42)
John Deex is a great captain. And HMS CEN is a great vessel. Give him the chance to prove he can navigate the choppy seas of the global economic downturn. He’s no lubber. He’s your captain!

Stick_to_selling_xmas_tress (20/11/2008 17:28:16)
Media Pundit – you’re an idiot. Iliffe media is hardly ‘fighting for survival’, it’s been making millions in profit. And we’re really not interested in what’s going on in the US thanks, but cheers for the lecture on General Motors.
Another interesting fact to throw in is that I was under the impression Iliffe media had just bought the town crier series (St Neots/St Ives). Surely they’re not going to shut them down just weeks later…..

Chuck Upvomit (20/11/2008 21:34:44)
I personally don’t think the new deputy was the man for the top job, but hiring someone who looks younger than most of the fruit in my cupboard (and probably not as ripe) didn’t help confidence either. The fact is, of all the chiefs in the indian tent, there are no leaders, just people trying to look like chiefs by wearing bigger hats.
The same letter that told staff they may lose their jobs, also re-enforced that the company was in good shape and in profit. Warped internal PR at its best.

The Write Stuff (21/11/2008 09:56:00)
Captain, my captain!