A cuts-threatened weekly newspaper will keep its office and three journalists on patch after discussions between staff and its parent company.
Trinity Mirror has confirmed journalists at the Black Country Bugle will move into a new room within the Dudley Archives building, where it is currently based, after what the company called a “productive and positive” consultation with staff and building owner Dudley Borough Council.
Three out of five staff at the Bugle had also been facing redundancy from the paper as part TM’s ongoing restructure of former Local World titles it now owns.
However, the publisher has now revised this figure with two set to leave – including editor John Butterworth.
It will instead be edited by Gary Phelps, who will add the Bugle to his existing portfolio of seven weekly titles in the West Midlands.
Additional support will come from a production team 32 miles away in Tamworth, where TM had originally planned to base the retained Bugle staff currently working in Dudley.
It is understood Bugle staff sought out the alternative room in the Archives building, pictured above, which is believed to cost £3,500 per yer to rent compared to the £16,000 currently spent on its present base.
After the initial proposals were announced by Trinity Mirror last month, a campaign was launched by the National Union of Journalists and Dudley North MP Ian Austin with a view to looking at alternative plans to the proposed redundancies.
Two prospective buyer were understood to have been considering purchasing the newspaper.
Said Gary of the new proposals: “The Black Country Bugle is a unique product that reflects the heritage and character of a distinct part of the West Midlands. However, many of its unique qualities have also presented it with significant financial challenges in recent years, which placed its future in doubt.
“Our initial proposal aimed to provide a solid financial base going forward for the title, based on tried-and-tested models that have proven successful with our newspapers elsewhere.
“However, we were always aware that, because of the unique nature of the Bugle and the Black Country – and the geographical distances involved – the opinions and ideas expressed by the paper’s long-standing staff could provide real, viable alternatives.
“We have been involved in a methodical and open consultation exercise that has taken on board their ideas to produce a new proposal that we believe will create a robust business model, that stays in the Black Country.
“This has been a great example of a consultation that has listened to all those involved, and has produced a positive outcome for the Black Country and the Bugle’s readers.
“I would like to thank all those who have taken part over the last few weeks for their professionalism during a very difficult period. Together we have built a plan that will ensure the Black Country’s heritage will continue to be reported by the Bugle in its own inimitable way for the forseeable future.”