A daily editor’s job is set to go with two morning titles placed under one person in a shake-up affecting 14 jobs.
Newsquest’s Colchester-based Gazette title will cease to have its own editor with an editorial director overseeing both the Gazette and the Basildon-based Echo.
The Gazette’s management, sub-editing and production teams will also be moved to the Basildon office, around 40 miles away, while the Gazette’s two editions – covering Colchester and the coast – will be merged into one.
Newsquest North Essex, which publishes the Gazette and its sister weeklies, employs around 50 editorial staff who were informed of the proposals this morning.
Michael Powell, father of the Newsquest North Essex NUJ chapel, said: “We are now in a 30-day consultation period regarding the editorial structure of the Gazette and sister weekly titles.
“The paper’s coast edition will be axed and production, sub-editing, features and admin will be transferred to the Echo office.
“The editorship of the Gazette and Echo will be combined and there will be the creation of a new separate editor for the Essex County Standard.”
The 14 redundancies will encompass one photographer, one photographic technician, five sub-editors, one editor, one deputy editor, three admin staff and two from features, either commercial or editorial. Reporters are not affected by the cuts.
The National Union of Journalists has condemned the plans as an attack on the independent cultural life of North Essex.
General secretary Jeremy Dear, who began his career as a journalist in Essex, said: “Our members in Colchester are not fooled by the notion of a paper without an editor.
“The daily paper in the area will effectively be an edition of the Basildon publication.
“Colchester was, for a time, the capital of Roman Britain and claims to be the oldest town in the country.
“The independent cultural life of this proud community is being attacked by Newsquest.
“Our members in Colchester calculate it would take them two-and-a-half hours to travel into London and out again to the Newsquest office on the outskirts of Basildon.”
The NUJ chapel in Colchester will meet next Monday and the chapel in Basildon on Tuesday.
Newsquest had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.
Happy Wednesdays (09/01/2009 11:50:15)
A few months ago this would have sparked a load of comments on here. But I reckon journalists are now just so used to getting shafted by the people that are supposed to be running our industry that they can’t even be bothered any more.
Miss Cynical (09/01/2009 14:36:54)
Or maybe there might be less community spirit in London than in towns/villages in England…?
Peter James (09/01/2009 19:38:14)
Some mention has also been made that the colchester press will cease and the gazette will be printed in Basildon. If this takes place then the news will be one hour out of date – the road travel time between Basildon and Colchester and NQE will expand considerably its carbon footprint.
Big willy (12/01/2009 10:11:18)
The Gazette is already printed overnight in Brighton (as is echo) so the idea that it, or the Echo, are ‘same day’ papers is a joke. Newsquest in Essex made significant profits in 2008 yet it’s not enough for some. It is disgraceful.