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Major job losses on the cards at Midlands newspapers

More than 60 editorial posts could go at Trinity Mirror Midlands as part of a major overhaul of its operations.

A 90-day consultation process is now under way with staff at the company’s newspapers including the Birmingham Post and Mail, Coventry Telegraph and weekly titles in Derbyshire and Northampton.

The company says it hopes to avoid compulsory redundancies.

In other announcements today, Trinity Mirror Midlands said it was either selling off or closing seven of its weekly titles and Coventry Telegraph editor Alan Kirby was taking early retirement.

This development will see Trinity Mirror operate two large-scale multimedia newsrooms – one in Coventry and the new centre at Fort Dunlop, off the M6 near Birmingham.

Other changes on the table include a centralised production unit along with a streamlining of production processes and widespread multi-skilling of staff.

A company statement said: “Once implemented, the new editorial structure will require substantially fewer journalists and the company is entering into consultation with staff and their representatives regarding this.

“The aim is to try to achieve this reduction by purely voluntary means. All current editorial roles are being revised to reflect the increased multi-skilling of journalists.

“Staff will be given a full programme of multimedia skills training, delivered by a specially-assembled team, to match the requirements of the new multimedia roles.”

A central multimedia desk will oversee the creation of editorial content for the Birmingham Post and Mail and Sunday Mercury. This desk will be responsible for the organisation and placement of content into pages and online. A similar multimedia desk will be introduced in Coventry.

These will be supported by a regional production unit where pages will be finished and quality-checked.

There will also be greater integration between Trinity Mirror Midlands’ weekly titles.

While content origination will remain local, the new multimedia desk principles will be introduced at local level and page production will be centralised.

Neil Benson, editorial director for Trinity Mirror Regionals, said: “The changes we are implementing in Trinity Mirror Midlands represent a pioneering new approach to publishing.

“They will enable multimedia journalists to contribute content to a broad range of titles and across a variety of platforms.”

The new approach is enabled by ‘ContentWatch’, a web-based content management system currently being installed across the region, part of a £7.5m investment in IT systems and the move to the new HQ at Fort Dunlop.

Jeremy Dear, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said: “Despite the gloss put on it by Trinity Mirror, today’s announcement represents a massive blow to journalism in the Midlands.

“The NUJ condemns these cuts which will inevitably hit these papers – and the communities they serve – hard.

“It just goes to show how little the company values its readers in comparison to the demands of the City.

“Whatever the company may claim, you simply can’t take dozens of journalists out of your local operations and continue to report news to the same standard.

“This is a deeply uncertain time for journalists working across all the titles affected. It’s also a very bad day for people in the Midlands who genuinely care about their community.”


Ray Jones (19/08/2008 18:49:23)
This is a shocking betrayal of journalists dedicated to these titles. One of the nauseating things was that at the company briefing they didn’t even tell everyone that they would have to reapply for a job – they left us to read it in their ‘consultation’ document. Cost cutting of the basest kind, which will kill the titles stone dead.

F. Johnston (19/08/2008 19:35:06)
Another hammer blow for journalism. Fewer journalists, worked harder to less effect.

wendy (19/08/2008 20:57:40)
Basically, all journalists – inlcuding photographers – who work at Trinity Mirror Midlands have been told their jobs no longer exist. Generously, though, we are allowed to reapply for jobs involving the same skills but also loads more. Hey, with any luck, we might get our own jobs back after they were taken from us! We’ll have to work loads harder though, with lots more new skills!!

kevin shaw (19/08/2008 22:08:30)
I work for the Croydon Advertiser and we were previously owned by Trinity Mirror, who systematically cut staff and resources down to the bone, they are the kiss of death for any newspaper and care very little for their employees.

Clive (19/08/2008 22:31:33)
A “pioneering new approach to publishing” says Neil Benson. Try telling that to the people who won’t be able to pay their mortgage after losing their jobs, not a problem Mr Benson will have to worry about. I used to work for a Trinity Mirror title and they are a group who end up taking the morale and enthusiasm of staff to new depths. And the fact that people like Mr Benson and others in positions of power continue to gloss over such embarassing mis-management does them no credit whatsoever.

Sam Bagnall (19/08/2008 23:54:29)
A sad Day for Journalism, and my fellow collegues, A betrayel and Insult to the whole photographich department, as Editors and Senior Heads annouce that our jobs can be taken on by so-called journalists with modern mobile phones. We all have to re-apply for our jobs except those who put this Consultation Document together. I hope their all proud of themselves, as I now contemplate how i’m going to pay my mortgage taken out today along with my wife of only 2 weeks.

Sly Fox (20/08/2008 07:38:57)
Trinity Mirror and Sly Bailey have killed the Birmingham Mail and its sister titles. This is an absolute disgrace. They can dress it up any how they like but that’s what’s happened. Get one reporter to work for all titles, take a video camera and a video phone on a job to have away with snappers, file three different versions of the same story, flog him or her to death and do the same the next day . . . oh, and you can’t even have a car park space at the Fort

“””””Fredd””””” (20/08/2008 07:56:14)
I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Just makes your mouth go dry. Good luck to all those affected.

Midlands Journo (20/08/2008 08:26:39)
Repulsively dressed-up as a £7.5m “revamp”. A smokescreen for job losses. When will these bosses realise they’re pulling papers further and further away from the local people who buy them.
The quality of the paper is being undermined, while regional reporters – who have never exactly had enough hours in the day as it is – are being encouraged to take more and more and more on.
It’s all bound to end in tears. Why don’t the head honchos have to re-apply for jobs?
Good luck to all those affected. Shame on Trinity Mirror.

Trinity Cynic (20/08/2008 09:47:35)
What sickens me is the way it was done. Journalists are paid to see through the bluff and get the story so to try and say this is some new dawn and then tell people to pick up a ‘consultation document’ as they leave which on the back page doubles as job application is disgusting. How can any of us believe a word Steve Dyson says again? I can understand they need to change but to bottle telling people bad news in such an idiotic way is beyond belief.

bill (20/08/2008 09:57:58)
As journalists on a Midlands daily paper we are watching events at Trinity Mirror unfold with some trepidation as a similar scenario is unfolding within our group as management push through this video and internet is the future package. I’m sure when they spot what Trinity Mirror have done they will take it board as yet another way to make cuts and drive profits up

Marie (20/08/2008 10:32:48)
My thoughts are with you all. I’m a photographer who was made redundant from the Bath Chronicle last September. It was handled very badly with li
ttle thought for the employees feelings. I’ve been working in a different part of the country as a PA ever since. It is so hard to get back onto a paper as jobs are few and far between, but I’ll keep trying. Good luck to you all. I know what a frightening time you are going through.

MIRRORMAN (20/08/2008 10:42:25)
I hope Neil Benson fought tooth and nail to save these jobs – these are the people who have kept him in his senior managmentjob. It not,resign now!

Brian Bould (20/08/2008 12:06:05)
Journalists and photographers are the backbone to any newspaper.Journos write and snappers take pictures.As a former national newspaper photographer I deplore the idea that you can give a reporter a mobile telephone,then ask him/her to record the event properly.Good stories and good pictures still sell newspapers,even in this age. If top and middle management are not doing THEIR job,they are the ones who should be looking over their shoulders.Internet content for local newspapers(still pictures and video) is without doubt the way forward,(but this is useless if coverage is taken by reporters who do not have a photographic eye), that’s why photographers are trained. Our business is about standards, if the product is first class,go out and sell it- COMPETE!
Brian Bould Newport ~Shropshire

The Demon Barber (20/08/2008 13:56:05)
I wonder if Benson managed to say all that with a straight face?

Withheld for fear of reprisals (20/08/2008 23:13:06)
”Staff will be given a full programme of multimedia skills training, delivered by a specially-assembled team”
Bet the specially-assembled team didn’t come cheap.
Oh, and I believe the team’s jobs are safe.
I’ve been a news ‘tog for over 20 years now — suddenly re-training to be a plumber has never looked more attractive – plus I can file any footage filmed on me mobile to Trinity.

Snapper (21/08/2008 09:36:59)
Once more Trinity Mirror show a complete lack of respect and regard for the people who work for them. A couple of weeks ago we all got an e- mail from Sly Bailey thanking us for our hard work and dedication during this “Difficult Period”. At the very same time she knew she was just about to SHAFT us, what does that say about her and those at the top.
I would like to wish those of us who will soon be unemployed the very best of luck and offer this small piece of advice, put the past behind and look upon this day as the first day of the rest of your life.
Good Luck

stewart perkins (21/08/2008 09:44:42)
These are difficult and uncertain times for newspapers (they usually are), but the reaction from management is always to cut costs, drive up profits and lower standards. Good luck to all my colleagues on the affected titles, as you organise and fight together through your union. And if you’re not in it join it now!

Poppyseeds (21/08/2008 14:48:14)
Lively show on this subjecet at

Sub (21/08/2008 20:55:04)
Another week and another round of job cuts in this industry. I wonder if anyone has told the universities to cut their media studies and journalism intakes? Otherwise they will be training youngsters who realistically have little chance of getting a job in newspapers or TV and they cannot all work in PR.

Simeon (21/08/2008 23:25:26)
In what other walk of life would you apply for a job where you didn’t know what exactly you would be doing, what hours or days you would be working and who you would be working for.
There’s been absolutely no clarity and they are trying to rush this mess through at a disastrous pace! Surely heads at the top should roll for the years and years of mis-managment, not us hard-workig journos who have had to put up with this rubbish for years!!

Employee (21/08/2008 23:35:35)
Lets look at the real facts, We all saw this coming, the newspaper industry is a lame animal, advertising revenue is on it’s arse but when you see Ad Reps stood outside the building smoking fags every 30min consistantly failing to sell advertising space, probably due to the fact they’ve had all the commission incentives taken away by Trinity Mirror there’s no wonder we are here today!
As for giving the public what they want each Birmingham title has it’s own readership market, Birmingham Post sits on the coffee tables and reception desks of City traders, The Sunday Mercury is the controversial nitty gritty paper with balls, that most people like to read, but the Mail really has lost it’s identity Mr Dyson numerous waste of money relaunches, green campaigns that nobody cares about a new website that already looks older than an ‘Amstrad 64′ (just take a peak at the New York Times website thats how a newspaper website should look).
We’ve all read this consultation Document put together by the likes, of Reeves, Dyson, Brown and the hatchet man himself i always seem to end up with a better job after every round of redundancies Ray Dunn! well maybe we’ve got it wrong but, I think the Trinity Mirror bosses frightened you all into putting this joke of a proposal together, but it doesn’t take a Bafoon to see that even you don’t know how this is going to work, you’ve all been asked numerous times by editorial employees during group consultations how this plan is going to work and neither of you (Reeves/Dyson) know the answer? Well its about time you were told, WE HAVE NO CONFIDENCE IN YOU! ITS TIME TO DO THE HONORABLE THING AND GO NOW!!!!!!!!!

Victoria (22/08/2008 08:08:21)
I work for a company providing a media contacts database to the PR community and my heart goes out to all those hit by these cuts. It’s a sad part of the job to have to call up and find out who’s been given the push.
Hang in there, guys.

renni (22/08/2008 09:03:42)
Of course the reason we are all in trouble is smoking ad reps..Come on guys…get real, get organised, or get out

Sir Digby Fairweather Lowe (22/08/2008 09:07:28)
I need a washer replacing on my tap, could the photographer email me one asp, upright and across. thanks