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Jobs go as Trinity Mirror closes two more weeklies

Newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror has confirmed that two weekly newspapers with a “long and proud history” are set to close next month.

One reporter, a community content curator and two photographers are set to lose their jobs as part of a series of cuts which will see both the paid-for Crosby Herald and sister free the Formby Times cease publication at the end of March.

Both titles are currently produced in Liverpool, along with the Southport Visiter, Ormskirk Advertiser and Skelmersdale Advertiser, which will remain as paid-for weeklies.

The closure plans come just weeks after the closure of seven Trinity Mirror-owned titles in the South East of England, including the Reading Post which has since moved to an online-only operation.

The two North West titles will be replaced with a relaunched Midweek Visiter freesheet, which will cover the boroughs of Sefton and West Lancashire, while a companion website has already launched.

Staff were told in a message today:  “Both titles have a long and proud history and this decision is made with huge reluctance and in the knowledge that it will be accompanied by significant disappointment.”

Editor-in-chief Alastair Machray added: “It is vital we continue to meet changing reader demand for up-to-the-minute information as well as the needs of advertisers for new and exciting marketing options.

“Our new free newspaper and website will do this and ensure people are kept in touch with what’s going on in their community.

“It is sad to announce that long-established and much-loved newspapers are to close.

“However we are confident that readers will find all the local news and information they need in the new title.”

As well as the reporter and community content curator roles being lost as a result of the closures, TM also plans to cut two photographers in a merger of its Liverpool and Chester picture operations. Four photographers are currently based in Liverpool and two in Chester.

According to the National Union of Journalists, the four who remain permanently will be permanently based in Liverpool with Chester only being covered photographically for major events.

Chris Morley, NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser said: “The roll call of fine newspapers that have ceased to be gets ever longer with this announcement.

“It is a loss that everyone needs to sit up and take notice of. When a newspaper goes, another light in the community goes out. Again, the relentless trend to eliminate professional staff photographers continues to the detriment of quality.

“It puts newspapers and websites at the mercy of vested interests, who submit free pictures they want published, or the chance that witnesses to news events pass on free photos, to fill the gap of proper, trained photographers who know their patch.

“Journalists’ jobs are at the same time being created by Trinity Mirror at Merseyside, so we would be clear that any reporter put at risk by these proposals should be able to transfer across to prevent redundancies.”

A Trinity Mirror Merseyside chapel rep added: “Members are very concerned about the reduction in photographers. We don’t see this as a way forward; they are already stretched to breaking point, without having to cover Chester as well.

“That would mean a 40-minute drive to get there at the very least and probably an hour.”

12 comments

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  • February 5, 2015 at 1:49 pm
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    Sad news. Another nail in the coffin of local news

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  • February 5, 2015 at 2:03 pm
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    One of the suits here has used “exciting” believe it or not. On a serious note why can’t they see that loss of employment is anything but that. Take five and reflect on what losing your job would mean to you – income (with implications for mortgages and kids’ school fees perhaps), status, routine, even identity for some. Readers do not regard what happens to their local paper as “exciting”, so it’s a redundant word all round. Raise your game, people.

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  • February 5, 2015 at 3:15 pm
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    A community content curator? Where do they dream these titles up.
    Sad though that even more people losing their jobs in the trade.

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  • February 5, 2015 at 3:28 pm
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    Just another way of (hopefully) forcing people to buy Machray’s increasingly dreadful Liverpool Gangsta Crime instead.

    Er, Liverpool Echo, that is. Fingers must have slipped.

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  • February 5, 2015 at 10:09 pm
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    This is very sad news. I did my work experience at the Crosby Herald and Bootle Times while I was a journalism student at Liverpool John Moores. All the staff were great and it was easy to tell how the papers were central to their communities when out and about on jobs.

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  • February 5, 2015 at 10:30 pm
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    Gave me a good start these papers but that was a long time ago. Much has changed. Very sad but ultimately predictable I’m afraid. No good news in the newspaper trade.

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  • February 6, 2015 at 10:35 pm
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    It is disappointing that Trinity Mirror think a free newspaper to cover the borough of Sefton and West Lancashire is going to work. Surely we need local publications, not ones covering areas which have been forced together by local government stupidity and no sense of allegiance. It is a shame for Formby and Crosby assuming residents will miss their local paper, but even my parents have given up buying the Southport Visiter as they find the rival, the Champion, much better for local news in that part of Lancashire.

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  • February 6, 2015 at 10:50 pm
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    I used to work for both of these newspapers as well as both of the main publications in Liverpool and can honestly say that The Formby Times was known locally as the most controversial – and truthful – local rag on the block. We ran headlines like, Why Did He Do It?, complete with a photo of the self confessed arsonist within 24 hours of his arrest; we also unearthed drugs rings, brothels and old boy networks and were subject to a constant stream of threats and intimidation as a result. I ended up discovering a series of miscarriages of justice but asked not to be given a byline for fear of reprisals when the story was published. ( I passed on the contacts for that story to Panorama and BBC Radio 5 Live because I felt it was so huge.) Within a year – after the story had gone national and I had left journalism – those convictions were overturned and people walked free from court… The Formby Times was legendary – whether we’re talking about the news editor who would regularly throw buckets of water at the wall to ‘clean it’, or the constant stream of filthy banter in the background that you learned to filter out… But it totally bucked the usual cats-up-trees stereotypes of local rags – and instead became a subversive, hard hitting, investigative journal.

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  • February 6, 2015 at 11:47 pm
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    How can it make sense to send a photographer on a ‘one hour each way’ trip, when a local freelance could take the pic for £10?

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  • February 8, 2015 at 8:52 pm
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    And another one gone, and another one gone and another one bites the dust.

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