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Daily editor role among 20 at risk as Trinity Mirror cutbacks continue

John HutchesonAround 20 jobs, including that of a regional daily editor, could be lost as Trinity Mirror’s latest restructure is rolled out to its Scottish division.

As reported on HTFP yesterday, the company announced a newsroom reorganisation in the West Midlands – with 19 jobs at risk at the Birmingham Mail’s office and six under threat at the Coventry Telegraph’s office.

Now the company has unveiled proposals to cut around 20 of 311 staff currently employed by its Media Scotland arm, with titles affected including the Daily Record, Sunday Mail and Paisley Daily Express.

Express editor John Hutcheson, pictured above left, is among those whose jobs are at risk, as Trinity Mirror plans to combine his role with that of the news editor to create a new executive editor position.

A memo sent to staff by Media Scotland managing director Allan Rennie, which has been seen by HTFP, also outlines plans to reduce production roles on the Daily Record and admits there will be “fewer checks” on copy in future.

The cutbacks include reduction of the Daily Record’s editorial production management team from three to two.One sport and two news multimedia journalists are set to be cut from the Daily Record and Sunday Mail’s staff, with one sports writer also facing redundancy.

In addition three roles are at risk of redundancy at its regional production hub, with a new position of head of production (Media Scotland regionals), which combines their duties, being created to replace them.

The company is seekinng up to eight voluntary redundancies as part of the changes.

In the memo, Allan wrote: “We understand that it is a challenge to produce award-winning newspapers papers with fewer staff. So it is important we all do what we can to streamline workloads.

“With fewer people, there will be fewer checks. Reporters and writers need to produce copy fit for online in the first instance and which requires the absolute minimum intervention from production for print and digital.

“The main focus of MMJs (multimedia journalists) should be headline and caption writing, copy fitting and pulling together complex multi-sourced stories.

“We need to target our art power on the showpiece pages and simplify design. As a consequence, we will template up to 70pc of all Daily Record and Sunday Mail pages – this includes magazines and sport.”

Allan added that the company would aim to achieve savings through voluntary means and would consult with the NUJ to try to find alternative employment for staff potentially at risk.

The voluntary redundancy package is open to all editorial staff working for Media Scotland and will be on the enhanced Daily Record and Sunday Mail rate.

As a result of the move, the Record and Mail will now move to a single Scottish edition structure with the exception of regional adverts.

Both titles will retain the capacity for slips up until 12.30am, for instance in the event of a major news story, while up to 70 pc of pages will be templated from now on.

A Trinity Mirror spokesperson said: “While Media Scotland is seeing record growth in digital audience and revenue, we need to carefully manage our cost base in what is a challenging market.
“We are therefore proposing some changes which may mean the reduction of some editorial roles, mainly in management and production, a number of which could be voluntary. There are no plans to make any changes to our print portfolio.” 

 

18 comments

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  • June 5, 2015 at 12:15 pm
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    Fewer chicks on copy could lead to trubble. And on an entirely serious note I corrected a junior’s nib-head the other day – ‘Murder man in court’ – about a chap, still innocent, who had been committed for trial at Crown Court. Don’t say these hapless management types haven’t been warned. More disturbing, do they care?

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  • June 5, 2015 at 12:35 pm
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    Get Nicola Sturgeon to head down to Canary Wharf with a war hammer and 100 heavy horse, that’ll sort them.

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  • June 5, 2015 at 12:43 pm
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    “With fewer people, there will be fewer checks..”

    No sh*t Sherlock…

    How about this, with fewer checks of copy written by inexperienced ‘reporters’, there’ll be legal problems galore.

    Absolute idiots.

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  • June 5, 2015 at 12:54 pm
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    I’ve always loved this idea that reporters will get it “right first time” because they’ve been asked to, like they’ve always deliberately not done so in the past. Reporters make mistakes, like everyone else, and when I was a news editor I always preferred people to make the odd spelling/story structure mistake and give me a good story with all the facts that I could weave into shape, than giving me some tedious tripe that fitted into a shape and didn’t need a spell check.

    There’s a reason why some people are better as reporters and some are better as news editors or in production roles. People have different skills, they are not jack of all trades and no amount of “training” is going to change this. I love this belief that simply saying “you must be right first time” will actually mean people will be right first time. Yet Trinity Mirror has been using this as an excuse to sack dozens of people since at least 2008. Depressing.

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  • June 5, 2015 at 1:04 pm
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    ‘With fewer people, there will be fewer checks’.

    So that’s OK then…?

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  • June 5, 2015 at 2:07 pm
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    No clue, I don’t think they care if there will be mistakes or not.

    Capitalism in the modern sense runs on lies. The bosses lie about caring about their employees, the employees lie about loving the company, everyone is just trying to survive to another mortgage payment.

    Where I work is like that scene from 1984 when they’re all sat in the canteen. ‘so brother, more lay offs, I suspect the company wouldn’t have done this unless it was really needed’. ‘Me too brother, I couldn’t have said it better myself’. What everyone is really thinking though, is that they really need to win the Irish lottery – and quick.

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  • June 5, 2015 at 4:32 pm
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    How many times do these people need to be told that ‘right first time’ doesn’t happen, has never happened and will never happen?

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  • June 5, 2015 at 4:47 pm
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    A dopey HR guy got a good grilling when he tried the “right first time” rubbish to JP staff. He left not long afterwards but the damage was done. Levels of grammar and style are lowest ever seen. Does anyone check now or are content editors content not to be editors?

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  • June 5, 2015 at 4:53 pm
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    What everyone is really thinking,Jeff Jones , is that they really need to win the Irish lottery – and quickly.

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  • June 5, 2015 at 5:03 pm
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    What everyone is really thinking,Pedant , is that you really need to get a life – and quickly

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  • June 5, 2015 at 5:54 pm
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    So what do TM do? Maintain staff levels where they are despite tumbling sales and revenues – and watch the whole business come down around them? Or cherrypick seven per cent of the jobs which have to be sacrificed to keep the presses running and delay the inevitable. Sales of the main paper have dropped from 750,000 to 150,000 a day and holding on to good wordsmiths and crack subs wouldn’t have mattered a jot. TM are taking the only logical business step open to them at this stage.

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  • June 6, 2015 at 2:32 pm
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    What you don’t get about this right first time nonsense, is that TM bosses know no-one on earth can be right first time, every time. The fact is they really don’t care. No-one does. The “content” is just space filler. There’s less and less of it, and fewer and fewer people are reading. No-one notices the errors and no-one complains, but more readers fall away…and so goes another twist in the downward spiral.

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  • June 7, 2015 at 12:07 pm
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    Makes my heart sink to see what is happening after 50 years in this trade.
    Even with experienced “checkers” plenty of costly mistakes have been made in the past – and now papers’ finances are even more at risk.
    Hope it doesn’t happen to the hack on the road (or don”t they even get away from their desks these days) but bet you that if a costly libel mistake occurs it won’t be the management that pays the price but guess who ….

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  • June 8, 2015 at 10:51 am
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    Someone with time and energy to spare could compile an entertaining book on the bizarre effects of regional papers’ copy checks, or lack of them.
    A pall al just emailed me this beauty from today’s Western Morning News.
    It should be a routine good news business story about the positive reasons for a 20-30 per cent increase in production at Devon and Cornwall breweries.
    Except the 26-word intro tells a different tale……..
    “Beer sales in the Westcountry have been rocketing faster than the rest of the UK, and local quality produce and new craft lagers are to blame.”

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  • June 8, 2015 at 11:33 am
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    Why don’t they just be done with it and staple together a few press releases every week… will save all the troublesome and expensive reporters, photographers, subs and editors.

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  • June 8, 2015 at 9:12 pm
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    Muker boy. That is disgraceful but typical of local papers. A pal quit his job because he was ashamed of it all and management would do nothing . there is no one left to teach the kids. The 40 somethings often in charge are from a generation that was not taught to love good English so they can’t pass on knowledge. Great pity.

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  • June 9, 2015 at 9:04 am
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    Percy, thanks to data obtained from their internet sites, newspapers can now see exactly what people want to read and what they don’t. It’s heartening to see that the human interest tale is still king and copied and pasted press release guff is generally ignored. However, more concerning is that the data also reveals that the most read stories are often the police appeals and road accident articles that any 14-year-old with a smartphone can publish widely using an ‘incident’ facebook site and twitter account. Anyone can be a reporter these days and nobody really gives a flying duck about spelling and picture quality.

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