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Six titles and 25 jobs to go in North-East

Six titles are to close and 25 editorial jobs are set to be lost in Newcastle and Teesside as a result of a further round of cutbacks by publisher Trinity Mirror.

Last November, the company announced the closure of five district offices in the region and the loss of 28 journalists’ jobs.

But with the downturn continuing to bite, managers have now been forced to announce more cost-cutting measures.

As a result, Newcastle-based ncjMedia is proposing to close the South Tyne Chronicle Extra, North Tyneside Chronicle Extra, North-East Exclusive, and City Living, while Teesside-based sister company Gazette Media is closing the Times series and the Yarm Town Crier.

In other changes, the flagship Evening Chronicle is set to go to a single edition, while ncjMedia’s digital content team may be scaled down.

Trinity Mirror estimates that there will be approximately 66 redundancies in all across the two North East businesses and has now entered a period of consultation with all affected staff.

Georgina Harvey, managing director of Trinity Mirror Regionals, commented: “We, in common with all UK publishing companies, are facing some real challenges. As a consequence, this will involve difficult but necessary decisions to secure our long-term future.

“These actions announced today are designed to protect our North East businesses and the majority of their employees. We are seeking volunteers from within affected groups in order to minimise any necessity for compulsory redundancies.”

Members of the National Union of Journalists chapel in Newcastle and Middlesbrough are set to meet tomorrow to discuss their response to the news.

NUJ northern organiser Chris Morley said: “The announcement of these savage cutbacks have left people feeling shell shocked and angry. These latest cuts must represent about 10pc of the editorial workforce and come on top of reductions in staffing earlier this year.

“Journalists on these titles are already struggling to cope with the day-to-day demands placed on them since the last round of redundancies.

“It is hard to understand how the company expects people to continue to produce quality journalism with such depleted staffing levels.”


the red postman (06/07/2009 17:46:52)
‘….Digital content team may be scaled down.’ Hang on, wasn’t digital content going to be the saviour of us all? Or could it be that Trinity Mirror hasn’t got a clue, or the resources after all these cuts, to make it work properly?

Scooped (06/07/2009 20:24:28)
I’m so sorry guys to hear the news.
How the hell does she think they will manage filling three papers in one of the busiest patches and most prodctive centres in the country!!! And… ‘scaling down digital’ it just doesn’t make sense!!! I bet she doesn’t know her HTML from her elbow.

digigirl (07/07/2009 08:38:51)
Why on earth are they scaling down digital? That’s like trying to get journalists to work as digital editors – they haven’t got a clue!! You need specialist digital journalists not just those that are old school. Wake up before you ruin journalism forever! Digital IS the way forward. Stop living in the past!!

Wavy Jelly (07/07/2009 10:10:36)
Interesting that you say TM have been “forced” to cut more low paid journalists doing a decent job for their community. I don’t suppose they were forced into cutting directors’ salaries, or accepting a more reasonable profit on turnover?

John (07/07/2009 10:12:17)
If your company is in trouble, don’t make it worse. Cut out the angry emotive language and instead work with the company to turn it round. The world has changed, and unions need to change their dinosaur thinking.

ellie hunt (07/07/2009 10:28:12)
Perhaps Digigirl could tell us how much real money the web makes for weekly papers?
I heard about a quid in every £100 profit unless anyone knows better.
But I do agree media centres (sic) need specialist digi reporters. JP Trinity Mirror et al all tried to do it on the cheap (it’s what they do best)with no extra staff. That’s why they are so far behind the nats.
Having specialist digi reporters allows the paper hacks to concentrate on making money to prop up digital- until the digi cash boom comes to local papers of course.
Or will it be back to the future?

Mr_Osato (07/07/2009 11:01:25)
How remarkable that economic conditions as far apart as the West Mdlands and the North-East are so identical and require exactly the same action from local managements. Unless, of course, this is a case of Stalinist-era command and control management from the plush environs of Canary Whard? Do Sly and co really know best? History says otherwise. Perhaps they should listen to their unions

SebastianFaults (07/07/2009 11:04:20)
The crunch for my leaving JP came when I was ‘promoted’ (without title) to editing the paper’s website. This was in addition to my existing workload (which included editing, without title, a weekly paid-for in two-and-a-half days flat). He offered me £1,200 extra a year (‘an ‘amazing’ offer for JP, apparently) adding that, unfortunately, a certain amount of working in my own time would be required. You’re not kidding, mate. I was out of there like a shot. They could buy my time, but I was b******d if I was giving them any more of it for nowt.
‘On the cheap’ doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Steve (07/07/2009 12:13:40)
“You need specialist digital journalists not just those that are old school. Wake up before you ruin journalism forever!” Digigirl get a life!

vinylman (07/07/2009 12:27:25)
It’s been blatantly obvious since Sly Bailey took over that Trinity Mirror haven’t got a clue where they’re going or what they’re doing. With a board that has only one member with any journalistic experience, however, we can hardly be surprised. EVERYTHING is being done with both eyes (not just one eye, as before) on the ledgers, the balance sheets and the accounts. No-one running the show has the slightest idea how newspapers are produced or how journalists work. If they did, this sort of butchery being carried out in the north-east could never happen

FAST WOMAN (07/07/2009 13:43:28)
Re – “You need specialist digital journalists not just those that are old school. Wake up before you ruin journalism forever!”
Actually what you need is print and online products that are irresistible because of their content and can therefore grab and hold an audience.
That’s where the money comes from.
Sadly, the clunky business models and short term cash-grabbing approach of some proprietors is totally at odds with the above.
Can’t help but get the feeling that many of those calling the shots don’t actually like the products their businesses turn out – their attitude towards brand management and quality control is dire.

Observer (07/07/2009 14:25:14)
Business expert on Radio Five this morning said businesses should cut staff as a ‘very last resort’ so they are in a position to take advantage of opportunities when the economy picks up, which is predicted to be soon. Hardly rocket science, is it?

Steve (07/07/2009 14:58:48)
Speaking to a Commons committee today, Michael Pelosi said print journalism drove online content and added: “There are still a lot of people out there who want to consume their information in print.”

J (10/07/2009 08:47:41)
…print is far more relaxing to read…you don’t have to fit your body to it, it does what you want. somethign inherently stressful about sitting bolt upright, staring at a screen.