Trinity Mirror has unveiled a fresh newsroom restructure at its Midlands titles which is set to lead to 25 job losses.
The publisher has told staff it wants a flatter management structure with journalists more fully-focused on digital audience growth.
The changes follow the introduction of the ‘Newsroom 3.1′ blueprint last year which saw two compulsory job losses in Birmingham as part of the switch to a “digital first” publishing model.
It is understood that every member of staff at the two centres has been offered voluntary redundancy, with a deadline of 16 June for applications.
Only three weeks ago, the Mail emerged as the big winner at this year’s Regional Press Awards with two individual prizes and two team awards.
Jon Griffin, who was himself temporarily at risk of redundancy earlier this year as a result of a separate restructure, was named Business and Finance Journalist of the Year while Jeanette Oldham took the Specialist Reporter of the Year prize.
The Mail also took home the Wesbite of the Year award for its online channel www.birminghammail.co.uk and the Digital Award for its web coverage of the 40th anniversary of the Birmingham Pub Bombings.
Trinity Mirror said in a statement: “We have today announced a proposed restructure of our newsrooms in Coventry and Birmingham, to continue the progress we have already made in becoming truly digitally focussed and to help us revitalise our print products.
“These proposed changes would result in some roles being lost, from content gathering and management teams, although a number could be voluntary redundancies.
“We remain committed to daily print publishing and are maintaining our print portfolio. We will be revitalising the Birmingham Mail and Coventry Telegraph in the coming months to appeal to a wider audience.
Simon Edgley, managing director, Trinity Mirror Midlands, added: “The proposals we have shared with colleagues today are quite significant in the change in structure we need to equip ourselves as a flexible, multi-skilled newsroom of the future.
“The decision taken to implement these proposals has not been taken lightly, it is necessary for us to adapt to commercial challenges and provide a structure that gives longer term sustainability of the business.”
According to the National Union of Journalists, staff were told of the changes in a letter this afternoon.
It read: “These proposed changes are based on an evaluation of the rate of growth of our digital audiences, demand for digital content and the level of content we need for our printed editions.
“In the restructured newsroom, each and every member of the team will be fully focused on building their digital audience and therefore their contribution to our digital growth. The emphasis will be on a flatter management structure, multi-skilled teams and more agile ways of working.”
Chris Morley, Northern & Midlands Organiser, said: “There is no disguising quite how devastating and demoralising this announcement will be for journalists in Birmingham and Coventry. It is yet another big slice of the Midlands’ editorial workforce to go following a series of similar-sized cuts since 2008.
“It is particularly paradoxical to note the axe is poised over ‘content gathering’ roles. We were all told that under the digital revolution content is king. Why do you need fewer journalists to produce content for digital audiences?
“We will leave no stone unturned with management to find a better outcome and maximise the number of journalists who still retain a livelihood with Trinity Mirror in the Midlands.
“We expect the company to be ready and willing to hear the ideas and alternatives from our members as the process unfolds.”