More than 70 journalists’ roles are set to be axed in a group-wide restructure by Trinity Mirror which will see the introduction of regional print production teams.
The company has announced proposals that will see the loss of 78 existing roles across its regional titles and the creation of 44 new roles – a net reduction of 34.
The restructure, which will affect management positions as well as front-line journalist roles, follows what the company is calling a review of growth opportunities and of its editorial print production practices.
The 44 new roles being created will include 17 specifically focusing on video creation and production.
No titles will close as a result of the restructure, but the company has confirmed that all its regional operations will be affected.
It is unclear as yet how the job losses will be apportioned across the group, although it is understood that five of the redundancies will be at its Gloucetershire titles.
The creation of regional production hubs mirrors changes already introduced at other regional publishers, most notably Newsquest.
Northcliffe Media, which published many of the regional titles now owned by Trinity Mirror, also experimented with subbing hubs between 2009 and 2011 before scrapping the initiative and returning production operations to local centres.
In a statement, the company said the review of growth opportunities had identified “opportunities for greater investment, particularly around digital and content creation, as we look to increase engagement and connect with digital audiences on a larger scale. “
It added: “The review of editorial print production has identified examples of best practice that can become standardised across the regions. As a result, the company is proposing to introduce regional print production teams, sharing resource and best practice to improve efficiency.”
Trinity Mirror’s editorial director for the regions Neil Benson, pictured, said: “It is essential that we keep reviewing the way we are set up in order to stay relevant to readers, to capitalise on audience growth opportunities and to keep our costs in line with revenues.
“As a result, this means we are proposing that a number of roles will be lost. However, this will be partially offset by a number of new roles being introduced, particularly around video creation and production, which we see as a significant opportunity.
“The restructure is a key part of our strategy to secure a long term, successful and sustainable future for regional press.”
Speculation about possible large scale job losses at the publisher mounted this morning after a series of posts on Twitter by BBC media editor Amol Rajan, who said the company was set to make a “big announcement” this afternoon.
Amol, who was editor of The Independent when its print edition closed last February, posted on Twitter: “Structural challenges faced by newspaper industry are accelerating. Having shut a paper, I don’t report job losses with relish. [Very] tough time for print hacks continues.”
The National Union of Journalists has responded with deep concern and has called for an improvement in redundancy terms for volunteers who wish to leave the company and assurances that workloads will be sustainable for those who will remain.
General secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “News of yet more cuts is a massive blow to journalists working throughout the group who need to be convinced that this new strategy for chasing digital growth is one that will actually yield results and – critically – one that will preserve quality journalism across the group.
“We have posed a number of questions to the company about the restructure and, along with our network of reps, will continue to discuss how we can minimise the number of redundancies and protect our members. A flexible redeployment process will be key to this, to ensure that the skills and experience of journalists whose roles are put at risk are not needlessly lost to the company.
“Another priority for us will be in securing fair treatment for journalists working across the Local World sites – we want fair, commensurate redundancy terms for all. When the public-facing corporate mantra is One Trinity Mirror, the same principles should apply to treatment of staff wherever they happen to work in the group – particularly under a plan that will involve more pooling of resources and merging of operations across the two businesses.”