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Northcliffe to set up dedicated digital team

Regional publisher Northcliffe is planning to centralise its digital operations in a new standalone business, it was announced this morning.

A new specialist team of ‘digital publishers’ is to be created to drive forward the ‘thisis’ network of more than 200 newspaper companion sites.

The people who currently manage these sites on a day-to-day basis are based mainly in individual Northcliffe centres and attached to specific titles.

Now their roles are to be brought together in a dedicated digital team of around 15 who will be part of a new division of the company to be called Northcliffe Digital.

Mike Rowley, currently director of digital publishing for Northcliffe Media Limited, is to become managing director of the new division.

The senior management team will also include Robert Hardie, who moves from the role of content strategy director with NML to become publishing director, and Russell Scott who becomes digital commercial director.

The 15 new roles are to be advertised both internally within Northcliffe and externally on HTFP.

It is not clear how many of the existing web managers will be redeployed in the new roles, and a consultation with newspaper staff potentially affected by the plan is to begin shortly.

The new team is likely to be based in more than one Northcliffe centre but all will report into the new Northcliffe Digital structure.

Although the day-to-day management of the thisis sites will be carried out by the new digital publishers, journalists on the Northcliffe titles will still be responsible for generating breaking news and multimedia content.

Michael Pelosi, managing director of Northcliffe Media, said: “We have already built a sizeable audience for the ‘thisis’ network. Our editorial and commercial teams have done a fantastic job in integrating digital into our business.

“This new team will give even greater focus to our digital activities with the aim of increasing audience, user interactivity and maximising response for advertisers.”


All Subbed Out (11/01/2010 09:33:59)
First Northcliffe effectively decentralised, giving more control of individual websites to local editors and reporters – which was grasped with enthusiasm at, for example, the former CIN titles, despite the lack of additional resources – making them more responsive to local conditions and generating more content.
Then it slashes staff and centralises subbing in the Midlands meaning the decimation of what had been built up on those websites, many sections of which closed down. Now it wants to centralise what’s left.
Does Northcliffe really know from one week to the next what it actually wants to do with its local media?

hilary jones (11/01/2010 10:32:49)
At The Heart Of All Things Local?

Seen it all… (11/01/2010 10:48:44)
Will the last one out turn off the lights. Clueless

JC (11/01/2010 11:50:48)
Bless ’em, how very 2004. Nice to see Northcliffe keeping it retro.

Horatio (11/01/2010 13:04:48)
so next year it will decentralise…AGAIN! Circles and asylums spring to mind

JP Worker (11/01/2010 15:32:56)
We all know the reasons for centralisation – it’s a way of legitimately driving out sections of the workforce to save money. Witness what happened with Johnston Press – create a subbing hub to shave off some of the staff and then scrap the hub…to shave off some more of the workforce. The “dedicated digital team” system is a sham.

Steve (13/01/2010 17:28:06)
Northcliffe hasn’t got a clue what its doing – it never has – made all the staff redundent – pay off the odd useless excecutive – still makes profit – no pay rises – I’ve heard on the grapevine that a newfangled device called the eyePhone coming and we will have a program for it in 12 months…….. oh.. we’re too late again – how about that interweb – anyone heard of that?

Steve (13/01/2010 17:31:29)
Northcliffe hasn’t got a clue what’s going on – this is just another ploy to get rid of a load of staff… too many overpaid directors who know nothing about what they ‘direct’ making decisions based on who know what… I’ve still got a job – for now…

Wageslave (15/01/2010 12:17:23)
Sheer genius; take away the one thing, their local accountability, detailed knowledge and responsiveness, which makes our websites worth looking at (after years of hard-fought battles to prise the dead hand of the thisis hierarchy off the tiller). But when newspapers are run by accountants, not journalists, this is what you get. I note there’s still been no mention on this (Northcliffe-run) website of the closure of the Plymouth press with the loss of 95 jobs; I wonder why that might be? Lack of funds, presumably, yet they can afford to send a member of the senior ‘management’ team off on a royal progress round the country putting the fear of God into already demoralised and under-resourced staff because they have the temerity to use fonts and rule weights he doesn’t happen to like. Roll on redundancy.

Paul Linford, Editor (15/01/2010 14:13:34)
Two points Wageslave. 1. HTFP is not “Northcliffe-run,” it is a joint venture company owned in equal shares by four newspaper publishers, one of which is Northcliffe Media. 2. We carried the Plymouth printing press closure story last Thursday (7 Jan). See

Wageslave (15/01/2010 16:24:27)
My apologies; you seem to have got wind of the press closure before I did, which isn’t a huge surprise.

Tori (26/01/2010 12:29:29)
I loved working in newspapers but am so glad I left. Redundancy was the best thing I could do. I just feel so soory for you guys who were “saved” as you are now doing all the work we used to do but with no hope of a payrise in the near future. Northcliffe really knows how to lower staff morale!

Lionel Hampton, Upminster (24/02/2010 16:01:47)
I took redundancy from Northcliffe a few years back and it was the best thing I ever did.
I now live in a cave, living off nuts and berries. I am now 78-years-old and have never bee so regular.
Thank-you Northcliffe.