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New subbing hub plan for Midlands titles

Plans have been drawn up to further centralise sub-editing operations on a group of newspaper titles in the West Midlands.

Publisher Newsquest Midlands is proposing to move sub-editors from its Stourbridge office to Worcester, approximately 27 miles away, mirroring a series of similar centralisations over recent years.

The announcement has already been made to staff and an eight-week consultation process has begun.

Sources have told HTFP that four full-time sub-editors currently employed in Stourbridge all being offered the chance to move.

Further subbing is carried out by one part-timer and a network of freelances who are all at risk of a reduction in hours, HTFP understands.

Affected titles based in Stourbridge include the Stourbridge News, Dudley News, Halesowen News, Redditch Advertiser, Kidderminster Shuttle, Bromsgrove Advertiser, Droitwich Spa Advertiser and Alcester Chronicle, all of which are free weeklies.

Titles produced in Worcester include the daily Worcester News and weeklies the Hereford Times, Evesham Journal, Malvern Gazette and Ledbury Reporter.

In a memo to staff, Stourbridge publisher Peter John said: “The company has begun a consultation process with the news sub-editors at Stourbridge over a proposal for the work they currently carry out to be moved to the Worcester central subbing department.

“If implemented, this proposal would improve the day-to-day production of the papers and allow the Stourbridge editors to concentrate on improvements to news gathering, content quality and website development.

“All sub-editors currently working at Stourbridge are being offered the chance to transfer.”

Mr John said no further comment would be made by the company while the consultation process was ongoing.


Newsquest sub (12/05/2010 11:30:50)
I’ll get me coat

hilary (12/05/2010 11:42:23)
Could be worse, folks. It’s only 30 miles – some of us have been commuting further than that all our lives. At least it’s not over 100 miles, as it is in Yorkshire. Mind you, it must be getting pretty crowded at Hylton Road by now! PS: go round by Ombersley and Hallow. It’s half the distance of the moroways and much prettier.

All Subbed Out (13/05/2010 12:27:47)
Oh, thanks, Hilary. There’s a net reduction in subbing capacity because of the loss of a part-timer/freelancers etc, more work for everyone that’s left, a longer and more costly journey to work for some – but it’s all OK because it’s a pretty drive. I’m sure the ever-overworked subs of Newsquest will bear that in mind when they’re slogging through the winter to another long day’s grind.

Junior hack (13/05/2010 12:37:39)
Oh stop complaining. All Subbed Out thinks subs are the only people in the world who work hard.

All Subbed Out (14/05/2010 15:12:26)
I am just as annoyed by the pressures and absurd demands made on staff in many other departments, but this news report happens to be about plans involving sub-editing, not reporters. If you want to know about such disastrous demands on other parts of the workforce, watch out for the news, yet to be reported by Hold The Front Page, that pre-press jobs are being moved by Newsquest from Worcester to Oxford – including pre-press staff who were already moved last year from Stourbridge to Worcester. So, Hilary, what’s the prettiest route for people now faced with a 75-miles-each-way jaunt to keep their jobs and possibly a roof over their heads?

Bleunez (17/05/2010 09:08:34)
It won’t be for very long…..they’ll be bust later this year.