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Eleven jobs at risk as regional publisher axes three newspapers

A regional publisher is set to close three free newspaper titles with up to 11 jobs at risk as a result.

Trinity Mirror has announced it is closing Luton on Sunday, the Northants Herald & Post and Milton Keynes-based title OneMK along with their companion websites.

All three newspapers were formerly owned by Local World and were purchased as part of TM’s £220m takeover of the rival group last year.

The proposed redundancies affect staff working in both editorial and commercial at the three titles, all of which compete in local markets against Johnston Press-owned paid-fors.

OneMK, formerly the MK News, is one of the three to be axed

OneMK, formerly the MK News, is one of the three to be axed

As part of the plans, three new roles – content manager, reporter and photographer – will be created at Bedfordshire on Sunday for three of the nine editorial staff at risk, meaning a reduction of up to six in that department.

In additon up to five commercial positions are set to be lost meaning a net reduction of 11 jobs in total.

Luton on Sunday was originally launched as a companion title to Bedfordshire on Sunday and was part of Iliffe News and Media before being absorbed into Local World in 2o12.

Trinity Mirror revealed that as part of the changes it would be expanding BoS with increased distribution into Luton.

A spokeswoman said: “We are closing three free weekly titles in Luton, Milton Keynes and Northampton as part of a review of our portfolio to look at how we best serve our readers and advertisers in these markets.

“We are not exiting these markets but will retain a presence in a different way. We believe there is a better way for us to provide content and commercial solutions for the local communities, for example through a schedule of niche products and awards & events.

“We will also be increasing the focus on Bedfordshire on Sunday which remains as both a print title and website. We will be increasing distribution of this title into Luton and broadening our online coverage.

“The number of roles we require to deliver the new portfolio of products is less than the current structure and as a result the business proposes to reduce the headcount, so unfortunately a number of roles in editorial and commercial are at risk of redundancy as part of these changes.”

The announcement of the Herald & Post’s closure comes 12 months after the paper celebrated its 40th anniversary.

Launch editor Tony Boullemier recalled last year that, at the time of its launch in 1975, some had predicted the paper “wouldn’t last six weeks.”

OneMK was formerly known as the MK News before rebranding earlier this year.

The three rival paid-for titles which operate in the areas affected by the closures are the Luton News, Northampton Chronicle & Echo and Milton Keynes Citizen.

Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said: “This announcement has come as a bombshell to staff on these titles. Once again Trinity Mirror has announced a shutdown of papers with no consultation with journalists or readers.

“Local people, democratic bodies and businesses are going to be stripped of a voice and plurality will be massively undermined.

“The company’s actions smack of arrogance. These operations are already run on a shoe string and now more jobs are set to go. It is another big red warning flag hoisted over the crisis in quality local journalism.

“Other Local World centres have been reorganised, merged and staff cut since the Trinity Mirror take over. They have been treated as the poor relation with poverty pay and only statutory minimum redundancy pay outs.”


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  • October 19, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Damn Trinity Mirror. Wasn’t this always going to happen when it bought Local World?
    A newspaper group that doesn’t really want to run newspapers. Just cut a business to the bone and feast on it like vultures.
    The daft thing is, TM and the others, could have invested, cherished local journalism and the brand names in areas to make a lot more money. There could have been a sensible approach to both print and digital that would not have seen circulation deaths and advertising revenue decline.
    Forget people’s livelihoods; forget the years of connection between titles and their areas; forget the great work done by titles and the people working for them, not just journalists; forget newspapers.

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  • October 19, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    Post Lite in Nottingham is also rumoured to be closing by the end of 2016, that will be another on their list

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  • October 20, 2016 at 10:47 am

    Working for TM is like waiting in an 18th century prison cell in Paris for the tumbrills to arrive.

    I feel for the people at the wrong end of TM’s slash and burn policy, I really do, but at least they know the worst.

    Having the job security of a carrier pigeon has seriously affected morale. We know the axe is going to fall at some point, but when?

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  • October 20, 2016 at 10:55 am

    So thats another 11 loyal staff that are going to be chucked on the scrapheap of life since Iliffe dumped everyone from a firm that was doing very well. Well done.

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  • October 20, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    Someone with more knowledge please help me understand.

    Iliffe used to make a good profit out of there titles. Since they sold to LW the majority of the print has been removed from its internal press saving hundreds and thousands a day.
    Distribution and the employment of walkers has been subbed out again saving the same amounts and vast amounts of the business have been centralised.

    Yet in that time they have also, off the top of my head now closed around 12 of the old iliffe titles and reduced circulation on a lot more.

    How are these titles not profitable enough to keep open after all the above measures?

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  • October 21, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    I’ll tell you why, Formerloyalfollower. It’s shareholders. Whatever profit you make, shareholders always want more. And the easiest way to increase profits when you’ve already pared a formerly successful business to the bone? All together now, children….

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