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Northcliffe restructure puts 38 jobs at risk in South East

Regional publisher Northcliffe Media has announced a major editorial restructure which could lead to up to 38 job losses in its South East division.

Under the plans, 14 of the group’s weekly titles across Essex, Kent, Sussex and Surrey will see further moves to integrate editorial production and an increase in user-generated content.

Although existing editor roles will continue, the company also plans to create four senior editor positions to oversee its titles in the region, which until now have come under a single editor-in-chief, Alan Geere.

Ten jobs are at risk at the Courier Media Group, 12 at East Surrey and Sussex News and Media, five at Kent Regional News and Media and four at the Essex Chronicle Media Group.

Individual newspaper titles affected are as follows:

Courier Media GroupKent and Sussex Courier, Sevenoaks Chronicle

Essex Chronicle Media Group: Essex Chronicle, Brentwood Gazette

Kent Regional News and Media: Canterbury Times, Dover Express, Folkestone Herald, Isle of Thanet Gazette, Thanet Times

East Surrey and Sussex News and Media: Croydon Advertiser, Surrey Mirror, Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser, Crawley News, East Grinstead Courier and Observer.

In addition to the above, seven jobs in production, photographic and regional management across the region are also likely to be affected.

The company says the proposals also include further development of digital platforms and encouraging “more flexible and modern” working practices across the businesses.

A formal consultation with affected staff began today.

South East regional managing director Richard Karn said:  “We need to continue to respond to challenging trading conditions to ensure we have viable, modern businesses moving forward.

“We will be re-investing and modernising our approach as part of this proposal and like any change it will create new opportunities for some colleagues to develop their careers within our businesses.”

The proposals are subject to 30 days statutory consultation and if approved are expected to be implemented between October 2012 and January 2013.

Alan, who was editor-in-chief of all Northcliffe’s titles in the South East, recently announced he was leaving Northcliffe to run a journalism school in Uganda.

16 comments

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  • September 6, 2012 at 5:28 pm
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    CAN ANYONE ELSE SMELL CHEESE?

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  • September 6, 2012 at 5:29 pm
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    Sad news – best wishes to everyone affected. This is not a particularly great time to be turfing hardworking people out of work, especially to replace them with (presumably) free “user generated” stuff.

    Are there even 12 reporters in ESSN and 10 in CMG? It seems to be a short sharp hit to remove the journalists from the journalism.

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  • September 6, 2012 at 6:27 pm
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    Would the last journalist to leave Northcliffe please turn the computers off!

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  • September 7, 2012 at 9:36 am
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    Feel like starting a Facebook campaign against UGC.. oh no, that wouldn’t work would it!

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  • September 7, 2012 at 9:42 am
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    These sound like swingeing cuts. Those who will still have a job to do will be harder pressed than before, working even more hours for fewer peanuts. My sympathies to those who have to find alternative work, perhaps you might better off out of it after all. It’s worth remembering that self employed gardeners and cleaners in the south east can earn £10-£12 per hour – somewhat more than journos do and that says a lot about the state of journalism, I’m afraid.

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  • September 7, 2012 at 10:11 am
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    User Generated Copy aka known as vanity publishing. A disease that is catching and fatal to journos but life-blood of accountants (it’s free!) and directors who know and care nothing about real newspapers.

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  • September 7, 2012 at 10:21 am
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    Stripping away the staff from one of the few profit making newspapers left – what a good idea! I think they call it streamlining.

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  • September 7, 2012 at 10:50 am
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    And Alan Geere just recently decided to quit…..now we know why! What an absolute farce. Newspapers should not be run by accountants.

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  • September 7, 2012 at 11:12 am
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    That’s not cheese Fletch, it’s corporate greed and managerial incompetance on a hugh scale.

    Got any snout?

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  • September 7, 2012 at 11:23 am
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    I quote – ‘The company says the proposals also include further development of digital platforms and encouraging “more flexible and modern” working practices across the businesses.’

    Hmmm. What they actually mean is more Victorian working practices – and subs who don’t know about the exclamation mark in in Oliver!.

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  • September 7, 2012 at 12:26 pm
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    I’ve said this before – but with cuts like these in weekly titles where will young journalists actually get their foot on the ladder in the future?
    I like UGC – but it should complement the work of journalists, not replace it.

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  • September 7, 2012 at 2:11 pm
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    Hmm – I think it may be time for an individual or group to start looking to involve “Brussels” as it appears that a basic human right in todays world is the right to be employed and provide a living for oneself and family.
    I’m pretty sure that a good head of steam could soon be built up and the negative PR for the companies involved may make the bloody accountants think twice before damaging so many peoples lives!!
    Go get em cowboy/girl!!

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  • September 7, 2012 at 3:15 pm
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    No surprises here, await more Northcliffe departures.

    It that time of year, Northcliffe starts a new Financial year in October so MD’s have to action savings / cuts in September. IE spend or accrue the redundancy costs in one year , benefit from the savings next year.

    Simples

    Good luck to those yet to be told.

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  • September 7, 2012 at 3:33 pm
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    What hasn’t been pointed out here is that all staff affected have to now reapply for the remaining jobs. Staff won’t be able to apply for particular positions. Instead they have to list jobs in order of preference. There will be no interviews for reporter roles. Instead they will be rated on a “skills matrix” (with points decided by their news editor and editor) and then put into a pool. The bottom 20 or so will then get the chop. There’s been no indication of how they will then assign people to each paper.
    Cleverly, there will only be four sports reporters for the entirety of the south east. As a result, news reporters will have responsibility for most sports stories too. They will also take over leisure and business reporting.
    At no point in the presentation were staff told how would this would maintain or improve standards. Clearly, they all know this has nothing to do with that, but there wasn’t even a pretence.

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  • September 7, 2012 at 4:42 pm
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    These cuts show that Northcliffe have effectively given up on sport. Sport, as we all know, is one of the few reasons some people still buy local newspapers. Where’s the logic?
    Alas the bean counters know nothing about real people or newspapers. Bur when they get rid of the last journo and close the last paper they will be out of a job themeslves.
    I give ’em five years. Tops!
    Schmucks!

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  • September 7, 2012 at 5:03 pm
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    Observer – if you are going to be pompous about the supposed lack of knowledge among subs working for Northcliffe’s South East division, at least be good enough to edit your own statement so it makes sense, and I quote:

    “Hmmm. What they actually mean is more Victorian working practices – and subs who don’t know about the exclamation mark in in Oliver!. ”

    No doubt you will forgive yourself that glaring error while at the same seeking to mock a skilled and talented bunch who are currently facing an anxious and worrying time.

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