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Newspaper to ‘review’ newsroom roles ahead of frequency change

A weekly newspaper due to go twice-weekly next year is carrying out a staffing review which may lead to new jobs being created and others being lost.

As first revealed on HoldtheFrontPage, the Exeter Express and Echo is to increase the frequency of publication to twice a week from 16 February, with an extra edition on Monday.

Editor Jon-Paul Hedge has previously confirmed that the paper will be hiring additional staff to help boost the paper’s content operation.

But HTFP also understands that some existing roles may be placed at risk of redundancy.

Publisher Local World said in a statement: “Further to the announcement that the Express & Echo plans to increase its publishing from weekly to twice weekly, a review of the current newsroom structure is underway.”

The company has refused to confirm that any decisions have been made on staffing levels, or that there will be any redundancies.

However one source told HTFP:  “A number of staff in Exeter have been informed that their jobs are under threat, as a result of which they are now involved in a formal redundancy consultation.”

The Express & Echo went from daily to weekly in 2011 when it was owned by Northcliffe Media, but interviewed by HTFP earlier this year, Local World chief executive David Montgomery said the move had been too hasty and had left a “gap in people’s lives” in the city.

Plans for the new Monday edition, which will be priced 50p, were confirmed by LW on 5 November.

Jon-Paul said at the time : “It’s an ambitious plan but Exeter is an ambitious city. It has seen tremendous growth over recent years and is leading the way in so many areas.

“We have listened to our readers, who said alongside our digital platform, they want us to publish more. I’m delighted that we’ll be hiring additional staff, to meet this demand with more of the content our readers love.

“With Exeter City and East Devon editions, both Thursday and Monday’s newspapers will reflect the views of residents, that business growth and shared aspirations mean a bright future ahead.”