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Up to eight jobs at risk in weekly newspaper restructure

Up to eight jobs are under threat as part of a restructure affecting around 14 weekly newspapers.

Johnston Press has announced the move which will see its Northern Ireland weeklies published to strict templates under the same basic 48-page format.

It is understood affected staff have been told they can apply for voluntary redundancy or reduced working hours, with eight full-time equivalent positions at risk.

Weekly titles run by JP in Northern Ireland include the Ballymena Times, Ballymoney and Moyle Times, Banbridge Leader, Belfast News, Carrick Times, Coleraine Times, Mid-Ulster Mail, Tyrone Times, Newtownabbey Times, Larne Times, Lisburn Echo, Ulster Star, Londonderry Sentinel and Lurgan Mail.

Tyrone Times

Belfast daily The News Letter and the bi-weekly Derry Journal are thought to be largely unaffected by the changes, as are JP’s central digital and sport teams for Northern Ireland.

Last month the company announced changes to the editorial structure of its 28 Scottish weekly newspapers, with the National Union of Journalists estimating that up to 25 editorial posts were at risk as a result.

JP said the move had been decided as a result of “challenges” faced by readers accessing news online and “industry giants” such as Google and Facebook changing the way people read news.

Jeremy Clifford, editor in chief of Johnston Press, said: “We have announced we are looking for a number of voluntary redundancies as we continue to find ways of ensuring our titles remain profitable and face the challenges in the industry. The News Letter is unaffected by the changes.”

3 comments

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  • August 30, 2017 at 1:48 pm
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    Same old same old. The company will keep contracting until it ceases to be of any significant size or relevance. Meanwhile independent publishers will thrive in the current climate with innovative new ideas. Print is not dead by a long chalk.

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  • August 30, 2017 at 2:16 pm
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    JP might as well close the doors over there. 8 redundancies from an already decimated and over-worked staff pool. Add to this the fact (which JP have NOT revealed) that SEVEN (almost half) of the NI division advertising staff are also being made compulsorily redundant this week and there is not much left. There is NO commitment to papers anywhere from JP. THEY ARE STILL FLOGGING THE DEAD DIGITAL HORSE. From what I hear, JP titles in NI are nothing but terrible due to the cuts etc but they are surrounded by good quality papers which continue to sell well. This is because, unlike JP they are comprehensively covering LOCAL news, with LOCAL staff in LOCAL offices with STAFF photographers covering LOCAL events. It’s not rocket science Ashley! ALL this simply proves my point…print isn’t dying…it’s being MURDERED! JP Northern Ireland MUST be prime pickings for a smart investor to take over and do things traditionally. Do things the RIGHT WAY and make profits. All the other papers in NI are doing it. The former Morton Newspapers was a very successful group until 2005 when JP darkened the doors. Just remember Ashley…digital can be a good thing but it simply DOSEN’T WORK FOR LOCAL WEEKLY PAPERS. Just SELL OFF the weeklies to someone for £1 each and get rid of the financial millstones. Let someone who actually cares take them forward.

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  • August 31, 2017 at 10:11 am
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    Ah, templated stories. Great idea that has worked wonders for JPs papers elsewhere, I don’t think.

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