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Newspaper group to shed a quarter of its staff

The Kent Messenger Group is planinng to shed more than a quarter of its 560-strong workforce in a fresh round of cutbacks announced today.

Last October, the family-owned group axed 59 posts including 30 editorial roles.

But the company, which runs local newspapers, websites and radio stations across Kent says the economic climate has deteriorated since then and more restructuring is neeeded.

It is now proposing a further series of cuts which place a total of 159 roles at risk of redudancy, including 64 which will be affected by outsourcing.

As part of the proposal, the Group is planning to outsource its printing, mailroom and distribution operations, and close its offices in Folkestone and Thanet.

But it insists that all the company’s newspapers, websites and radio stations will continue to be produced under the proposals.

Managing director Graham Mead said: “If we had any other option but redundancies we would take it, but the reality is that we have to restructure our business to be able to operate efficiently in this challenging environment and to position ourselves for the future.

“We will still have around 400 staff and believe we will still provide the best media service in Kent for all of our readers, listeners, visitors and customers.”

Chairman Geraldine Allinson said that the measures were necessary for the long term future of the company.

“Our proposal to outsource our printing was a particularly difficult one to make with the company’s long and successful history of printing our own titles.”

The company plans to serve Folkestone and Thanet in future from their other existing offices in Ashford and Whitstable.

Managers are now consulting with all the staff affected by the proposals. The consultation is due to conclude in April.


cadmus (27/02/2009 16:18:10)
So what is Bob ‘there’s lots of jobs being created for journalists’Satchwell’s view on this then?

Jed Mingler (02/03/2009 10:27:46)
Surely if Folkestone and Thanet papers are being produced from Ashford and Whitstable they have, effectively, stopped being local newspapers?
Kippers for tea again please!

Nobby (02/03/2009 11:20:01)
So how much has the KM Group stumped up to pay axe-man Graham Mead?

Posie (02/03/2009 12:48:22)
This is such sad news. But I think KM management lost the plot a few years ago. Is it sheer coincidence they’ve been producing high quality local papers for over 200 years, but over funded and poorly executed local radio for less than 10, and this happens? If they had realised why no other newspaper group has followed this path years ago, I genuinely believe they could have seen this recession through. As it is, I give them a year. But hope beyond hope I’m wrong.

Alice (03/03/2009 18:02:02)
When companies start outsourcing printing operations it’s a slippery slope to outsourcing journalism. I can’t find work in Kent but I hear the regional dept of the Sunday Times wants subs so I’m trying them.