Regional publisher Trinity Mirror is launching the next phase of its ‘digital first’ strategy with a fresh set of changes to newsroom practices.
‘Connected Newsroom’ aims to build on the introduction of the ‘Newsroom 3.1′ strategy first introduced at Trinity’s North East titles in April 2014 and subsequently rolled out across the group last year.
It will mean increased use of audience data along with the introduction of individual and team audience goals to ensure editorial resources are focused on the most popular content.
The move will see “a handful” of redundancies at the group’s Manchester, Huddersfield and Welsh titles and also some new roles created, but the publisher says the strategy is “not about cutting or creating jobs.”
In a statement, the group said the key aim of the initiative was to facilitate local audience growth, with “increased use of analytics and trends analysis to focus on producing content that audiences want to read.”
Separate announcements were being made this afternoon at individual TM centres, which also include Merseyside, the North East and the West Midlands.
Editorial director for regionals Neil Benson, left, said: “Across Trinity Mirror we are at the forefront of the essential transition that is needed to adapt to changing consumer behaviour in the media industry.
“Our regional daily businesses have been leading the way with the evolution of the digital-first newsroom which has had a significant impact on our audience growth, making us the fastest growing regional publisher in 2014 and the first half of 2015.
“We are now introducing the next iteration – the Connected Newsroom. The ambition is to grow our local and engaged audience by sharpening our focus on providing content that is relevant to our audiences through the channels that suit them.
“This will be achieved by extending the digital-first approach, concentrating on local core content, driven by audience analytics and trends analysis.”
He said: “The proposals involve changes to some of our working practices and the focus of some roles to reflect the changing needs of our audience. However, we believe we can achieve our objectives in the North East without the need for any redundancies.”
The key proposed changes for Newcastle include:
- Using local audience data to switch resource from the least popular to the most popular content, while preserving “essential brand values.”
- Introducing individual and team audience goals to ensure journalists are “working on the right stories at the right pace” and sharing workloads fairly.
- Re-focusing the role of content editors to ensure audience goals are managed effectively, and changing the focus of writers to match audience needs.
- Creating a sports managing editor role from within existing resource.
Added Darren: “It’s important to note that while we need to change and adapt the way we operate, we don’t regard any proposed changes to roles as fundamental and we do not consider any roles redundant.”
The changes will start to be introduced from the end of this month across Trinity Mirror’s regional businesses in Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales, Manchester and Huddersfield, Wales and the North East.
The new-look newsrooms are expected to be fully in place by the start of 2016.