The editors of the two daily newspaper titles in Leeds have confirmed that 12 jobs are likely to go as a result of the introduction of a new content management system.
In a statement issued to staff earlier this week, Yorkshire Post editor Peter Charlton and Evening Post editor Paul Napier said the plan would mean the loss of the equivalent of 12 full-time editorial roles.
A formal consultation process with affected staff is now udner way and is expected to be completed by the middle of next month.
The statement read: “Yorkshire Post Newspapers Ltd will shortly install the new editorial content management system which will improve the way news and information is delivered to our print and online platforms.
“The system, supplied by Atex, will allow both words and pictures to be handled by one system as well as improve the newsgathering and content loading workflows.
“As a result of the proposal, there will be a reduction of 12 full -time equivalent roles. In the event that the proposal goes ahead, we will endeavour to minimise staff losses through voluntary severance and redeployment.
“We have commenced consultation today with the individuals affected and anticipate that this process will be complete by mid October 2010.”
However the National Union of Journalists claims the introduction of Atex at other JP centres has been a “disaster,” blaming the system for editorial howlers such as the missing headshots splash in the Sheffield Star earlier this year.
Northern and Midlands organiser Chris Morley said: “We have had plenty of opportunity to see Atex introduced into other Johnston Press newsrooms. In many it has been a disaster, only mitigated by our members’ sheer professionalism to get the paper out.
“Our members will need to be fully convinced that the system does what the company says it can do and that they have access to the best training and support.
“They are not willing to pay the price with their health and family lives so the company needs to work with our members rather than seek to maximise cost savings too quickly.”
JP Sub (16/09/2010 08:21:04)
Neither the language from the union or JP’s insistence that there are no problems are helpful. Atex’s intorduction hasn’t been “a disaster”, there are production howlers every now and then whatever system you use. These are still few and far between – even with Atex.
However, there are more mistakes getting into the papers, as a vital layer of proofing/checking pages has been removed by losing so many subs.
As well as the subs hubs, each paper needs at least two subs based in its offices to ease the workloads and to check the designs/content of each pages.
But, as ever, both sides refuse to negotiate or enter into meaningful discussions.
Readwhatyouwrite (16/09/2010 09:48:29)
“Neither … nor …ARE?
What kind of sub are you?
Col Kurtz (16/09/2010 10:34:43)
Chris Morley has clearly led a charmed life.
A “disaster” is when unspeakable acts of tragedy occur, resulting in loss of life and health.
What has happened here is a new system is to be imposed on staff with little or no training.
The Nuj’s response has been its ususal amateur caterwauling towards strike (the only song it knows) only to fall spectaculalry at the first hurdle once it came up against people with formal legal knowledge.
Atex is not perfect, neither was the previous system.
I agree with the first comment and would further add that both sides need to grow up and stop acting like it’s 1977.
Modern times need modern leaders.
Gutbuster (16/09/2010 10:51:48)
To readwhatyouwrite: Presumably JP Sub is a tired, overworked sub who has pounded out something quickly while under pressure and watching eyes. If you work in one of these houses, you would know the pressure and suspicion under which many have to operate..
Twiki (16/09/2010 11:43:56)
Col Kurtz – of course the NUJ’s response is to consider strike action – it’s the only weapon the union has and newspaper bosses understand. There will have been countless times the union will have tried speaking to JP about issuesbut they will have refused.
What else do you expect the union to do?
septic (16/09/2010 12:19:12)
Be warned colleagues.
Atex shoves all the work on to reporters. They are cheaper to run than experienced sub editors.
You will spend your days filling shapes so your copy fits whatever what a shape-maker sends, writing headings, attaching pictures and arguing about which story might slot into which shape on which page. Doing anything but properly researching stories and getting out of the office.
This is not reactionary moaning.
It’s happening across the country right now.
Atex might be a good system elsewhere but is clumsy and slow in the way JP use it, not helped by the firm’s already cluttered IT systems.
Copy is not checked as thoroughly (who is there to check it?) and mistakes are getting into papers that were picked up before.
Change is fine and necessary in our industry and a new challenge is welcome. But hundreds of JP hacks know that this is proving another change for the worse.
Unless you are a manager who can avoid using it, of course.
Exhausted sub (16/09/2010 12:30:25)
The standard of journalism, or even churnalism, is in spectacular freefall throughout the provincial press. One system or another is going to make little difference to this decline. Very few editors are willing to oppose this sad situation.
Biter (16/09/2010 12:51:36)
I always like the management speak accompanying these changes with the always proviso that it will improve news gathering etc.
Odd then how whenever the new CMS systems are installed the staff who have to use them say they are a nightmare, and I’m not talking about just teething troubles.
Daniel Amokachi (16/09/2010 13:45:55)
I agree wholeheartedly with Septic. Any JP reporter who has to use Atex will sympathise with how frustrating it is. I’m currently sat waiting for shapes to appear so I can write into them. You can prepare the story beforehand but you never now how big the shape will be or what size picture is required. No doubt they will all drop in just before deadline leaving us up tom-tit creek without a paddle. Splendid.
dontyaluvit (16/09/2010 14:27:22)
exhausted sub: the editor who stands up for his or her staff is a disappearing breed.
The reason is cruelly simple.
There are a lot unemployed people out there.
Standing up to the Kremlin could make an editor them one of them?
What would you do with a mortgage to pay and kids to raise.
It’s sad and defeatist, but that’s the state of the workplace generally in this economic climate, not just journalism.
JP reporter (16/09/2010 14:45:15)
Septic and the NUJ are spot on. Atex means front line reporters being lumped with time consuming tasks, many of which we’ve not been trained for. These inlcude cramming in snappy headlines, captioning pics (why can’t ‘togs have a hand in this?), ‘attaching’ them to shapes (which can take up to 10 – 15 mins per pic) and writing things to shape length. IMO, a LOT has suffered in light of this – hacks have no time to chase up and find decent leads and the number of mistakes slipping past the net is an embarrassment. True churnalism.