AddThis SmartLayers

Daily editorships to merge again as six jobs placed at risk

James WillsTwo daily newspaper editor roles are set to be merged as part of a series of proposals which could see the loss of six editorial jobs.

Regional publisher Newsquest has announced plans to axe three editor posts Essex, including the Colchester Daily Gazette’s James Wills, left, along with three other editorial roles.

The decision comes after less than two years after the roles of Gazette editor and editor of Basildon-based daily The Echo were split in October 2014 following the departure of Colin Channon, who had been responsible for both titles.

The two positions were previously merged for the first time under then editor Martin McNeil in 2009.

Others whose posts are at risk include the editors of Newsquest’s North Essex and Mid-Essex weeklies, along with an assistant editor covering both the Gazette and the Essex County Standard, a Colchester-based content editor and a sport content manager responsible for both the Gazette and the Echo.

However one new full-time and one part-time role are due to be created, meaning a net loss of 4.4 jobs overall.

The plans will see the creation a new North Essex head of content role, reporting to Echo editor and regional editor-in-chief Chris Hatton, as well as a new part-time position of content producer responsible for the Tiptree Tribune.

As well as the Gazette and Echo, other titles thought to be affected by the move include the Harwich and Manningtree Standard, Clacton Gazette, Braintree and Witham Times, Brentwood Weekly News and Chelmsford Weekly News.

In an announcement to staff, which has been seen by HTFP, Newsquest Essex regional editor-in-chief Chris Hatton said: “The company continues to face difficult trading conditions with sustained pressure on the profitability of the business.

“The company continues to look at all functions and disciplines across the business and where appropriate implement reorganisations or consolidations of functions so as to deliver efficiencies and reduce costs.”

He added the proposals had been made after a review of the group’s editorial department which had been undertaken due to “a need to reduce costs and in a continuation of consolidation efficiencies.”

The move mirrors other recent Newsquest changes which have seen editors taking charge of multiple titles, for instance the Swindon Advertiser and Oxford Mail, which now come under a single editor in Gary Lawrence, and The Press, York and Telegraph and Argus, Bradford, both overseen by Perry Austin-Clarke.

Chris took on the editorship of The Echo after Colin’s departure, having previously served as his deputy in Basildon.

James had been editor of the Essex County Standard and head of content for the Daily Gazette prior to his promotion.

A formal consultation is now being held on the proposals, which will run until 31 August.

Chris told HTFP it would be “inappropriate” to comment further now that the consultation period is under way.


You can follow all replies to this entry through the comments feed.
  • August 9, 2016 at 8:19 am

    Another week, another bloodbath. At the beginning of 2016 I requested HTFP undertook an end-of-year review before Christmas to gauge the extent of the damage in what was always likely to be an “exciting” year. I’ve changed my mind; best do it before the end of August while there is still anything left at all.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(24)
  • August 9, 2016 at 8:22 am

    Another day another case of deja vu

    Mergers, Cost efficiencies, revenues down ,jobs at risk,consultation processes ,the 2016 theme of editorship being axed on a previously unheard of scale is all to common and looks to continue.
    if you have ‘editor ‘ in your job title as opposed to ‘content’ this that or the other I would seriously start looking outside the business for a future as there sure as anything isn’t one in the regionals these days.

    The sad thing is this is happening so frequently and across the entire industry in this country that it no longer has great shock value.
    Commiserations to those affected but at least you’ll be ahead of the game when it comes to finding alternative work once other staff are made redundant in the near future.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(23)
  • August 9, 2016 at 10:05 am

    ‘Continuation of consolidation efficiencies’…There still isn’t anyone capable of looking for new ways of raising revenue, instead of constantly cutting costs, is there?

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(17)
  • August 9, 2016 at 10:28 am

    With the ever growing reliance on public supplied content ( you can’t call them readers when most aren’t) the scraping of social media sites to lift photos and news and the ever increasing number of ‘curators’ coupled with the annihilation of all photographic departments and teams and commercial suits having clout over editors, the role of an editor is an easy one to cut out, as bitter a pill as it is to swallow, those roles carrying a high salary package yet which are becoming largely defunct in the modern media works are he easiest to be cut out. Advert managers and under performing sales reps aside, the need for editors when we are swamped with ‘content’ Chiefs in 2016 is becoming a non essential

    Sad but true

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(13)
  • August 9, 2016 at 10:34 am

    ‘Consolidations of functions’. ‘Consolidation efficiencies’.


    Report this comment

    Like this comment(8)
  • August 9, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Valid points all, especially the role of editors in this day and age of cost efficiencies, mergers and cutbacks, it’s all very nice to have the title and the self importance that usually comes wth it but this is 2016 and the need for editors outside of the once comfy world of local regional newspapers is slim to non existent and of little or no value to a potential employer in the independent publishing sector.
    However rest assured it’s not all bad, those
    that can write and have the genuine contacts and credible respected relationships ( not the false ones of perceived popularity that simply comes with the title ) will find work, for those that don’t it will be a bit of a culture shock and ‘awkward’ if those that were ‘let go’ by an editor now find the tables turned and in positions of influence in the big wide world many have since established themselves in.

    Interesting times for editors, very interesting indeed.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(7)
  • August 9, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    At last count my local JP weekly “hub” lists 21 people with editor titles, THREE reporters, and four so-called community reporters (untrained handling sent-in community stuff). Something wrong here?

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(5)
  • August 9, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Heard it all before – nothing to see here, etc. But I like Dick Minim’s idea of an end-of-year review to gauge the extent of the damage.
    This would provide some statistical evidence which should be put forward as the basis of an independent review into the regional Press and the impact on local democracy.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(6)
  • August 9, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Indeed dick and citizen , too often we read of events on HTFP then unless we are directly involved never hear the outcome, success or failure of any. A summary or round up would be interesting to read and might just give those in positions of power to investigate how the industry is being run/ mismanaged the facts and figures to enable them to do so, either way someone does, any other industry being run into the ground by incompetence at the top and by those with self serving interests would find themselves under the spotlight and certain individuals held accountable

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(3)
  • August 9, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    Employee X: to be fair there are more powerful demographic and technological reasons for the decline of newspapers and their publishers than mere incompetence. What you can rightly say, however, is that the corporates are pretty poorly run and that’s not helping. Then there is the pernicious myth that online can financially support journalism. Well, ask The Guardian or the mighty Mail Online if they think that’s the case. What could work is someone with real vision – the mighty Zenithar, for example – could hive off his empire into semi-autonomous hubs, lightly but adequately staffed, and cream it in. Details to be worked out but endless cutting ain’t cutting the commercial mustard.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(7)
  • August 10, 2016 at 8:02 am

    The mighty Zenithar is pleased that his followers hold him in such high regard, but urges caution that they don’t over-estimate his abilities.

    Good idea though, Dick.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(2)