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Another 49 jobs set to go as Trinity Mirror continues ‘Live’ rollout

Trinity Mirror has revealed the next phase of its rollout of a new newsroom model will see another 49 jobs go – bringing the total number of redundancies set to be made to almost 100.

The regional publisher has announced that its titles in the North-East, North-West, South-East and South-West of England, as well as Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and South Wales, will switch to the new ‘Live’ model whereby digital teams are made independent from the print teams.

Last month the company confirmed up to 49 jobs were set to go in the South-West, Midlands and Liverpool as it moves to the model, which was first adopted in Birmingham.

Under the latest changes, a new website called Cheshire Live will be launched to carry content from the Crewe Chronicle, Chester Chronicle and Macclesfield Express, while another new site, Staffordshire Live, will also be created.

The Hull Daily Mail's site will become Hull Live

The Hull Daily Mail’s site will become Hull Live

Websites set to be rebranded include:

  • Gazette Live, the site of the Teesside Gazette, which becomes Teesside Live
  • Hull Daily Mail, which becomes Hull Live
  • Grimsby Telegraph, which becomes Grimsby Live
  • Plymouth Herald, which becomes Plymouth Live

Digital titles already on Live branding which will be moving to the new newsroom model are:

  • Devon Live
  • Cornwall Live
  • Lincolnshire Live
  • Chronicle Live, in Newcastle
  • Essex Live
  • Kent Live

A company statement announcing the changes adds: “We are also continuing to refine our print production operations in some of these regions.

“Our proposals will result in up to 49 roles being at risk of redundancy and we have entered into consultation with those staff affected.”

The company says Wales Online and the Manchester Evening News will continue to retain their respective identities online, but with the City sections of Wales Online – Cardiff, Swansea and Newport – being rebranded as ‘Live’ channels.

Its online titles in the South-East of England will also be moved on to the ‘Live’ brand, with Get West London becoming West London Live and the Croydon Advertiser website becoming South London Live.

TM says the decision to launch Staffordshire Live has come following recent discussions with local businesses which “have convinced us there is a new audience to reach here in addition to the growing Staffordshire audiences using our Birmingham and Stoke sites.”

A spokesman said: “Our strategy is to ensure that content reaches an audience, regardless of which website brand that is under.

“Around Staffordshire, we have a number of sites in towns and cities which are very relevant to our readers. Since placing content from Lichfield and Tamworth in the Birmingham Live site, we have seen a net increase in the number of visitors from Staffordshire visiting content produced by us about Staffordshire.

“We will continue with this strategy as it works for readers. However, having spoken with people in Staffordshire, we have been convinced to try a Staffordshire wide website, which will pull together content from across our Midlands newsrooms and use it if those editing the site feel it is in the interest of people who prefer to come to a Staffordshire website.”

The previous rollout, which saw the Burton Mail website merged with that of the Derby Telegraph under the Derbyshire Live banner, led to protests from some staff members at the Mail, which is based in East Staffordshire.

The creation of Staffordshire Live is likely to mean content from the Burton newsroom potentially appearing in Staffordshire Live as well as Derbyshire Live although TM has not confirmed this.

Meanwhile the creation of Cheshire Live will mean the Crewe Chronicle, Chester Chronicle and Macclesfield Express newspapers will no longer have standalone websites, although the existing URLs will continue to direct readers to the relevant area of the new site.

A spokesman said:  “CheshireLive will serve the whole county with geographic, rather than subject-based, primary navigation. Readers will be able to go straight to their preferred town via the existing URLs, and we will build a new loyal audience to the Cheshire-wide brand. ”

In the South East and Cambridge, the company will also be rolling out changes to journalsts’ working weeks and pay structure with the aim of attracting more people into a career in journalism.

All journalists, excluding editors, will also move to a compressed full-time hours four-day working-week, to help staff achieve their potential and have an improved work and home balance.

Trainees’ salaries will increase to £20k, rising to £22k upon qualification as a senior. Content desk level salaries will increase to £26k.

Ceri Gould, editor-in-chief for the South East and Cambridge region, said: “We want the region to be both a centre of excellence for training new journalists and a region with an unrivalled reputation for the highest story-telling standards, online and in print.”

However the National Union of Journalists says it is “appalled” by what it called the “savage” level of cuts at the publisher, which recently announced that it would be rebranding itself as ‘Reach plc.’

General secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “Further job cuts are terrible news for our members at Trinity Mirror and will heighten concerns over the company’s strategic direction.

“Will these “Live” brands mean anything to individual communities and towns proud of their distinct traditions, heritage and loyalties?

“These job losses will add extra work and pressure on to an already-overstretched staff.”

52 comments

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  • March 22, 2018 at 4:09 pm
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    I always read about the rollout of new Trinity Mirror plans in the voice of Baldrick.

    “I will call it Cornwall Live, because it will be in Cornwall.”

    “But why Cornwall Live baldrick?”

    “Because then people won’t think it’s dead.”

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  • March 22, 2018 at 4:18 pm
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    This news was broken to us earlier. No shock, just resignation that another round of cuts has arrived. And general anger that staff in other Trinity Mirror (Reach) centres will have considerably better redundancy packages than us.
    A successful business isn’t just about posting profits. It’s also about having a brand name that readers – and staff – can be proud of. It’s about having a workforce that are generally enthused about working for the company, not one which is forever looking for the exit door.
    And those of us who end up in the print sector of this new business have realised we are pretty much on borrowed time.
    I look forward to the Trinity Mirror spokesman coming out and issuing a completely inappropriate and insensitive statement about the whole affair.
    Good luck to everyone affected.

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  • March 22, 2018 at 4:41 pm
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    On the plus side, if you had March 22 in the ‘when will local newspapers die’ sweepstake… well… you won!

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  • March 22, 2018 at 4:59 pm
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    Shocking, but regrettably we’ve become used to daily to announcements of job cuts and staff being put in the dreaded “consultation “ process but it’s stioll a lot of people soon to be out of work, and yes @ExSportsHack, the excuse maker will no doubt be along anytime soon with his usual guff in defence of his paymasters latest “efficiencies”
    Commiserations to those affected

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  • March 22, 2018 at 5:56 pm
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    When will the madness stop? When the goose has been strangled and the golden egg has been smashed into smithereens?
    And it was thought a good idea to allow TM to expand and buy up all these newspapers?

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  • March 22, 2018 at 6:34 pm
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    Interesting idea… “All journalists, excluding editors, will also move to a compressed full-time hours four-day working-week, to help staff achieve their potential and have an improved work and home balance.”

    So working an extra two hours a day then? That will be helpful to people with childcare needs. How will the work-life balance be enhanced by needing to pay for extra childcare four mornings and evenings a week?

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  • March 22, 2018 at 8:59 pm
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    I want a job as a Trinity Mirror spokesman. As long as there was one other person still yet to be made redundant, I’d have a job for life

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  • March 23, 2018 at 8:53 am
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    You’d think that maybe having websites that people actually enjoy using and that run seamlessly would be a more worthwhile use of resources first. I think that pretty much says everything you need to know about the only real motive in all this despite the usual line of rubbish that the ‘spokespeople’ come out with.

    These job loses make the lunacy of spending god knows how much on a pointless rebrand that’ll achieve nothing even more sickening.

    Good luck to all effected

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  • March 23, 2018 at 9:11 am
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    TM’s Circle of Life –
    Reduced number of Staff by redundancy = reduced quality of news sites = reduced numbers of visitors to sites = reduced amount of revenue = Reduced Number of Staff by redundancy……

    In the words of Lady Olenna from Game of Thrones, “But once the cow has been milked, there’s no squirting the creaming back up her udders”

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  • March 23, 2018 at 9:41 am
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    Newsroom 3.1 was announced almost exactly four years ago and Neil Benson was quoted as saying “This is where we cross the Rubicon, and become not just an integrated multimedia newsroom, which we’ve been for some years now, but truly digitally-led.”

    I can’t wait for ‘Reach’ to explain how they’ve crossed another ‘Rubicon’.

    On another note, I wonder if this is why Chris Styles took an early bath from the Gazette a few days ago?

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  • March 23, 2018 at 10:37 am
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    So, from what I’ve heard, TM badly miscalculated how much money they’d make from what remains of print and they applied a similar formula to how much they’d make from digital. In essence, they stripped resources from print, which was still making a decent amount of money and focused on the God Digital, which hasn’t made nearly enough. The result has accelerated the demise of the once golden goose, led to the loss of yet more talent and an expensive rebrand as a sticking plaster to apply over a gradually deepening self-inflicted wound. While I fully accept print has had its day and will never reach the zenith it once did, its decline has been managed with all the foresight of an amoeba. I will dispute any argument that TM are doing their best in a rapidly changing media landscape because I wouldn’t trust the personnel managing this carnage with a burned-out match.

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  • March 23, 2018 at 11:11 am
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    “All journalists, excluding editors, will also move to a compressed full-time hours four-day working-week, to help staff achieve their potential and have an improved work and home balance”

    So you squeeze what in some cases in a full five-day week into four days.
    Earlier starts and later finishes?
    Four days on and four days off?
    Consecutive days on an off?
    With a lack of staff being able to cover annual leave, sickness etc this is not much of a dangling carrot is it?
    No wonder some staff have been so stressed and demoralised they’ve jacked it in and gone off to sell pizzas.

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  • March 23, 2018 at 11:53 am
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    Very sad news as the local journalism cull continues.

    Let’s not forget this cull – across all the major regional publishers – is now effectively being subsidised with public money via the BBC’s Local Democracy Reporters scheme.

    Surely it’s time the relevant Commons select committee asked some questions about this?

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  • March 23, 2018 at 1:18 pm
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    The most mind boggling aspect of all this to me is they have pushed the digital side of the business while making highly skilled digital staff (who had some innovative ideas on how to make digital work) redundant while promoting young inexperienced staff who are just yes men (and women), while rehashing older ideas which didn’t work the first time round.

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  • March 23, 2018 at 2:11 pm
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    Feel nothing but sadness for talented people losing much-needed jobs. Journalism is a vicious work environment now, and not just at TM. Those who enjoyed its peak should thank their lucky stars.
    I wish those still hacking a living luck. They deserve it and certainly do not deserve some of the management misfits in the industry.

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  • March 23, 2018 at 4:06 pm
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    As someone who is about to be made redundant in the first wave of 49 TM cuts, it’s all rather pathetic, but I’m resigned that it’s time to go.

    Yes, newspapers are in decline: we’ve all seen that for a couple of decades now.

    But I, like many colleagues, have zero faith in our management, at all levels.

    In the last five years, we’ve seen inept managerial decisions – or even no decisions or management at all. I’m not even sure management really care themselves.

    It is clear they have no clue what they are doing and are just blagging it/making it up as they go along.

    Desperately self-immolating/lopping off working limbs will just eventually kill the patient. TM are playing jenga with their portfolio of titles. The writing is on the wall for any business who can only maintain their profit ratio by canning off the very people who make the product.

    But, yes, it’s time to go: newspapers are in free-fall and now obsessed with mindless click-bait drivel: I knew it was time to go when I saw web ‘news’ stories with ‘poo’ and ‘bum’ in the headlines or such greats as ‘You’ll never believe why McDonalds does not use mayo in its burgers’.

    It’s a sad end to a 20-year career but it’s time to try something else.

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  • March 23, 2018 at 4:15 pm
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    As someone whose 35-year career in newspapers ended with one of Trinity’s previous blood-lettings, I can only say that Axed sums it up very nicely.

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  • March 23, 2018 at 4:19 pm
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    Call me old-fashioned but I look back on my start in newspapers in 1965 with nostalgia. In the main the only reason you left a paper was either on your own accord or because you had committed such a gaffe there was no alternative. Also, the powers that be promoted their papers etc. Where is that now? I remember some years back suggesting to an editor we should promote the paper on a new housing estate. “Oh no – we can’t be spending money like that” was the reply. It would have been peanuts. If you cut back but don’t promote then you end up cutting back in an ever decreasing circle. Sad.

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  • March 23, 2018 at 4:22 pm
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    @napoleon solo this is truly nothing new. Even in print I used to sit there in meetings with various publishers as they discussed their new plans and latest tactical approach and scratch my head as it was usually the same plan they rolled out 18 months previously before rolling out the next approach as it didn’t go so well. It was like a continuous cycle of swapping the same tactics slightly tarted up to appear like you know what you’re doing. The only difference was that back then there were still diamonds in the rough at local level who actioned change and new approaches to make things work. There was also local distribution teams who actually cared about the job and wanted things to succeed no matter what it took.

    They’re all gone now I’m afraid but in the main the people I spoke about first with no real clue for anything but self preservation have remained and thrived while destroying what’s left with these stupid ideas.
    I can see the back slapping, stupid smiles and talk of golf courses like it’s yesterday! Of course followed with the “that’s business line” to justify bad management for destroying lives!

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  • March 23, 2018 at 4:35 pm
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    Very well said, Axed: “The writing is on the wall for any business who can only maintain their profit ratio by canning off the very people who make the product.”
    All the major groups are guilty of this now – not just TM. It’s simply ridiculous that years of experience, skills and local knowledge now count for absolutely nothing with senior management of a “here today, gone tomorrow” nature. Still waiting for any “excuse maker”, as From the Word Furnace (can’t imagine where that name comes from!) puts it, to be able to explain how losing your better members of staff is a way to save your business.

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  • March 23, 2018 at 4:52 pm
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    @formerloyalfollower You’re spot on. I remember a meeting where the opening gambit for one of the regional managers (who has since been promoted) was “I’m not a geek”, as if being into in the digital area of the business was something to be ashamed of. They then proceeded to make a number of redundancies, among them people who knew their patch inside out and highly proficient and experienced digital journalists. If you want to make digital work, you don’t make people who know how to make digital work redundant, if you know what you’re doing!

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  • March 23, 2018 at 4:53 pm
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    Well said, Axed. And commiserations to you and your colleagues.

    As I’ve said before on this forum, it’s no longer about print versus digital because the inevitable decline of print has been prematurely accelerated to the point of no return by the likes of Trinity Mirror.

    What the defining legacy of the likes of Trinity Mirror will be is the death of responsible, detailed local reporting, respected by readers and a record of local life. Quality is being throttled by precisely the type of clickbait garbage Axed mentions.

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  • March 23, 2018 at 5:41 pm
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    Their usual mouthpiece is noticeable by his absence which tells us lots

    Napoleon solo
    It’s because the newbie/ yes men are cheap, easy to manage,won’t rock boats and are easily impressed, anyone with experience could see it all going wrong 4-5 years ago and either left as they had integrity or were given the grave ho as they weren’t afraid to question and challenge ridiculous knee jerk decisions.
    The ones that are left have no credibility in the industry so will struggle to get work once they too are a cost too much

    Good wishes to the latest batch of good folk soon to be ex employees

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  • March 23, 2018 at 7:31 pm
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    Allow me to offer a glimmer of hope for the future…

    My news editor, Sinead Corr, and I on the Iliffe Media-owned Bishop’s Stortford Independent have been out of Reach since we were made redundant from the Herts & Essex Observer by TM in 2016.

    Since then, and particularly since the BS Indie was launched in October 2017, we have observed with much sadness, laced with a dash of anger, the far-too-sudden decline in reputation and esteem in which our former beloved title-turned-opposition is held by the growing population of this town.

    In just 6 months we have knocked the 157-year-old heritage title off its perch in this town. That should NEVER have been allowed to happen.

    And we have been able to do that because we give our readers relevant content in an eye-catching package. It’s as simple as that.

    I invite anyone disillusioned about the future of printed newspapers to come and spend a day (not a Monday or Tuesday) in our office and feel the love from a readership grateful for being given a proper local paper every week. Alternatively, see the reviews on our Facebook page. Honestly, it’ll restore your faith. It restored ours.

    Paul Winspear, editor, BS Indie

    PS We have Prosecco and cake too

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  • March 24, 2018 at 9:24 am
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    Just to pick up on Kevin Ward’s point made earlier on:

    Very sad news as the local journalism cull continues.

    “Let’s not forget this cull – across all the major regional publishers – is now effectively being subsidised with public money via the BBC’s Local Democracy Reporters scheme.

    Surely it’s time the relevant Commons select committee asked some questions about this?”

    This is just wrong. The BBC’s democracy reporter project has had no bearing at all on the announcements being made by Trinity Mirror. The announcement made is driven by the need to grow loyal, digital audiences to replace the revenue we – and all publishers, big and small – are losing in print.

    To suggest the BBC is subsidising cuts is to imply something which simply isn’t true. To that end, we’d have no qualms appearing in front of any Commons committee to discuss the local democracy project and its impact on other announcements.

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  • March 24, 2018 at 10:48 am
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    @Paul Winspear Fine words, but can watch the next opening of a local Greggs live and read a fascinating expose on the number of tills the local Aldi has?

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  • March 24, 2018 at 1:36 pm
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    @ Paul Winspear. I’ve just had a look at your website. Lightning quick to load (because it’s not constantly loading content from ad servers and trackers) and there’s news, everywhere! Where are all the pointless listicles, clickbait and drivel that Reach (they’re not alone by any means) tell us is necessary and relevant to their audience?

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  • March 24, 2018 at 3:47 pm
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    @ One time sub
    It’s more like a ‘copy and paste nodding donkey gas ring’ rather than a word furnace these days lol ( as the young uns say)

    Seriously you have to wonder what the real newspaper people,the true community reporters,the proper editors and the business minded ad sales people who had contacts and were respected on their patch’s and who’ve all left or been moved on are thinking watching once credible publishers and titles crumble into dust, with quite frankly,clueless yes people at the helm and who’s future cv will show the carnage happening on their watch.
    Howecer it’s the ones who cling on,choosing to do as they’re told and afraid to speak up I feel sorry for as when their numbers up, not only will they struggle to find jobs which those before them wil have filled, but they’ll also be lacking relevant skills and attributes which are of no value to the new successful independent publishers.
    Still you get what you deserve and if you’re happy to turn the other cheek while better people are shown the door you deserve everything you get.
    Good luck to @Axed and the others about to be unjustly dumped.

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  • March 24, 2018 at 6:51 pm
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    Hello Paul. Your story is remarkable at a time when other independent publishers are selling up.

    How many papers do you sell a week? Are you profitable? Your wide open pages suggest maybe not. And why did your ultimate boss sell the papers you lament the demise of so much? And what of the internet there? (Not on Mondays and Tuesdays obviously!)

    I think we should only get excited when you show what you are doing is sustainable. Otherwise it’s all, well, BS

    And nice to see a journo dumping on the work of fellow journos so publicly.

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  • March 26, 2018 at 9:17 am
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    @davidhiggerson lets not beat around the bush. Your websites are pretty naff. Do you honestly believe that if they were putting out great content on smooth running platforms there would be this many negative comments all the time? Yes there would be some who were angry at losing a job they loved but against the continuous loss of jobs and re branding of sites that never improve the actual product it leaves people shaking there head in despair.

    Do me a favor and go and watch a youtube video produced by people with a few thousand followers and then compare it to some of your live on the scene broadcasts. Note the level of camera quality from an individual then compare it to what you guys produce. Zero investment from a multi million pound company. It’s ridiculous that you guys fail continuously to see that the basic fundamentals aren’t being achieved first before rushing on to the next big thing.

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  • March 26, 2018 at 9:33 am
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    David Higgerson will not agree on this, as has been shown by a conversation we have had on social media, and therefore debate seems relatively pointless. However…
    I deliberately used the word ‘effectively’ in my original comment. Of course, the BBC local democracy reporter project is not a direct subsidy for the big regional publishers’ continual slash and burn policies. But I maintain that is effectively what is happening because it is a useful smokescreen for what is really happening in the regional press.
    I took the option of voluntary redundancy 18 months ago after 32 years in regional journalism, including editing two regional dailies (in print and digital) over 10 years, largely because I could no longer stomach being the front man for cuts to editorial budgets and staffing that were unjustified.
    I’m no tech dinosaur and my newsroom teams did huge amounts of work to grow our digital audiences, often by spectacular percentages. However, this made no difference when it came to the amount of money (and therefore the number of good, talented people losing their jobs) at each budget round.
    In the end, I could no longer stomach making friends redundant and lying to them about the reasons for doing so.
    There is only one reason for the continual cuts to editorial staff across the industry – the bottom line and delivering unrealistic profit margins.
    Cuts are continually dressed up as ‘initiatives’ or ‘new ways of working’. They’re not. They are simply a way of producing more across more platforms with fewer people, and the inevitable drop in quality is plain for all to see. Just look at how often reader comments on online stories are about the dreadful spelling and grammar, or lack of local knowledge, contained in the articles. Readers aren’t stupid.
    Anyone who claims cuts and job losses are driven by anything other than the bottom line is either spouting the company line (which is understandable; I did it for years) or simply deluded.

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  • March 26, 2018 at 9:43 am
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    Tippex accuses Paul Winspear of rubbishing the work of fellow journalists (which he didn’t actually do) before then rubbishing his, tending to suggest Tippex is not a journalist. Deliberately conflating criticism of TM titles and management with criticism of those unfortunate enough to have to work for them is a standard technique of TM management misrepresentation which we have seen in these columns before, tending to confirm Steve Dyson’s educated guess about Tippex’s true identity. Doing crappy work for a crappy paper or a crappy website does not make you a crappy journalist – just a human being with a mortgage, a family and few if any options.

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  • March 26, 2018 at 9:51 am
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    David Higgerson, I can’t see how the content pumped through your websites can ever generate loyalty because it’s available online, everywhere. Shouldn’t you be trying to differentiate your output by being better, with real journalism, rather than just adding to the digital noise?

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  • March 26, 2018 at 11:17 am
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    Print is not dead. Crap print content scraped from crap websites and slapped on crappily-designed pages is dead.

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  • March 26, 2018 at 2:06 pm
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    The BBC project involves taxpayers’ money being spent to prop up papers – David Higgerson is proving that, while he was prepared to put his head above the parapet and argue a case for TM, he is now blind to the terrible journalism that it is putting out.
    That is not a call for the ‘golden age’ to return, or that I think digital is not as good as print.
    Any publication needs to have standards, quality and integrity,
    You can’t do that with constant culls of staff.
    The old heads that understand the legal repercussions of what we write and how are largely gone. Editors are in charge of several newspapers and can’t run one title effectively.
    It is nonsense.
    And try accessing a TM website to read a story. Adverts get in the way, moving the story up, down and roundabout on my laptop. Then I get the survey pop up. Then back to more advertising getting in the way.
    I give up.
    It’s not user friendly. It’s not written well. It’s largely clickbait that has little or no relevance to the regional titles in question.
    Put simply, it’s dreadful.
    Now the managers, editors and reporters that are left can all pat themselves on the back and tell me that I’m living in the past. I’d rather be there, when we had a stark emphasis on getting things right, quality and understanding the readership.
    Pretty soon, it’ll just be the taxpayer funded reporters left.
    And why should I subsidise a company that doesn’t care about news and newspapers? Because if TM, we would not have seen the amount of journalistic, sales and other staff go in such numbers.

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  • March 26, 2018 at 2:13 pm
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    At the leaving ‘do’ of a hugely loyal TM news editor recently there was an interesting discussion with existing and past staff. We were saying how it’s hard to imagine that digital is working despite the clickbait and ludicrous claims (almost everyone in XXX sees our content etc). If it were working, why keep the newspaper which clearly no one at the top cares about any more?
    There was also chat about the elephant in the room … Adblocker. When the big numbers for page impressions are given, what estimates are given to advertisers of numbers using Adblocker? The hilarious thing about the discussion was that they were saying most people in the TM centre in question use Adblocker themselves because the websites are so rubbish without it!!!
    I have read some estimates in America that aAdblocker use is nearing 50% in some places.
    What’s the company line on that to advertisers, Mr Higgerson?

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  • March 26, 2018 at 2:20 pm
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    Like it or not,print ,at the main regional publishers, most certainly IS dead @Little Dutch Girl
    They’ve sacrificed once credible healthy papers by filling them with dreadful irrelevant content, Facebook snaps, generic content no ones untested in, and worst of all lack of investment in print. All this while chasing the elusive digital buck which it was believed was easy money as it had fewer costs associated yet which after ten or more years has failed to be monetised other than pay per click ad revenue worth diddly squat, or by reps moving print ad revenue to digital sites to hit a target, there’s certainly not enough revenue coming through to finance a large publisher hence the many many jobs being slashed and people red carded in the desperate chase to reduce overheads and limit losses.

    However print is alive and thriving all over the uk via independent paper publishers who’ve picked up the market given away by the ailing big boys and publishing quality community newspapers to people who want to read them picking up local advertisers along the way too
    Dead or alive it just really depends which side of the window you’re viewing it from

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  • March 26, 2018 at 2:42 pm
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    David Higgerson says: ‘To suggest the BBC is subsidising cuts is to imply something which simply isn’t true’.

    Yet I know of at least one TM reporter who in the last five / six weeks has been taken on by the BBC as a Local Democracy Reporter while his colleagues have been told he won’t be replaced.

    What is more, he continues to file copy for his former employers’ website which has nothing whatsoever to do with local democracy.

    We all know Dave will be reading this thread, so an explanation as to how this squares with his suggestion that people commenting here are being uncharitable to suggest the BBC is subsidising cuts would be much appreciated.

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  • March 26, 2018 at 6:21 pm
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    Indeed, @Prospectus. I got the bullet from TM and now I work on a new independent title and I’ve never been happier as a journalist. People DO still want to read relevant content created with care for their community. They don’t want clickbait.

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  • March 26, 2018 at 6:55 pm
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    I wonder if the reporter to whom FredFunk refers is a one-off (I’m aware of an exactly identical situation) or if this is something going on across TM titles? Hard to imagine the expert bean-counters at Canary Wharf won’t have tumbled to that wheeze, not least because everyone on HTFP has been describing it as precisely that for months. Though I’m sure Dave Higgerson is even now drafting another ringing denunciation of such a vicious and uncharitable slur.

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  • March 26, 2018 at 10:35 pm
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    Hi @Fredfunk – it’s hard to comment without knowing which newsroom you are talking about, but we have been very clear: If an internal candidate becomes a democracy reporter, that role will be replaced.

    That’s why Kevin Ward’s talk of the BBC ‘effectively subsidising’ redundancies is a nonsense, particularly at a company like TM where our newsrooms are built around reaching loyal, local audiences online.

    I don’t think anyone is blind to the fact that revenue is at the heart of the challenge facing the regional press, or seeks to hide that fact, as Kevin suggests. But I’d be amazed if the growth Kevin drove online didn’t lead to any more revenue at Newsquest – that’s certainly not what I see.

    I do agree with Kevin that readers aren’t stupid. But I see more people, coming back more often, and spending longer on our sites – and I imagine it’s the same at other publishers too.

    I know what the reaction will be here when I write this again, we are reaching more regular, loyal readers across our websites and apps than for decades. We will always try to improve the experience readers get with us online, and have made improvements recently. But in a world where people don’t seem prepared to pay for local news (despite many large and small organisations trying) online, we have to accept that advertising is what will sustain journalism online.

    @electricnoise suggests we try some real journalism. @saddenedjourno makes a similar point. I think people see what they want to see on our sites – and the fact every story stands or falls on its own merits online makes that easier than ever before, unlike say print which comes as bundle. There is plenty of ‘real journalism’ on our sites, and I’d argue a lot of what people on here don’t consider ‘real journalism’ will also be valued by readers. I know this because i see the data, not just headline PV data, but the data which looks specifically at what loyal, local readers want.

    I suspect this won’t placate most of the commenters on here, but I hope it goes some way to explain what we are trying to achieve, and to provide a bit of balance to some of the more strident criticism.

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  • March 26, 2018 at 10:44 pm
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    Print may not be dead but it is dying… just look at the circulation losses of paid-for provincial newspapers over the last ten years. In ten years’ time they won’t exist…

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  • March 26, 2018 at 11:35 pm
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    When the freebie ‘Local Democracy’ reporters scheme was explained in the TM email, Simon Fox very clearly stated that they would be additional and not a threat to existing jobs. Yet, on HTFP’s job section, TM state they are looking for 55 more LD reporters for a contract total of 147.

    By sheer complete coincidence – well, waddayaknow, knock me down with a feather – TM are now binning 98 editorial writers/staff.

    It’s blatantly clear that TM and all other publishers are working towards a cheap-as-chips model or free content. How long before TM ask themselves why they are paying for a reporter when they can get one free courtesy of the BBC/taxpayer?

    Existing politics reporters etc would do well to keep hold/print off that TM email announcement for when the next round of axings come – it may prove bountiful in any tribunal.

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  • March 27, 2018 at 12:40 am
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    Print is not dying… It is being murdered by clueless executives of the big publishers who care more about shareholders, debts and bonds than they do about the workers or products. They are feverishly running about pushing digital as the way forward but as yet they have dismally failed to monetise it. Small independent publishers are weathering the storm much better than the big boys whose only solution to falling revenues and debts is to cut staff, cut quality and cut their own throats. They put across an arrogant confidence like a used car salesman selling a banger and live from day to day hoping if they make up the shortfall by cutting staff any lying about digital that they won’t be caught on. Independents can take or leave digital. For them print wasn’t broken so why fix it.

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  • March 27, 2018 at 8:49 am
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    Further to David’s comment, we have approached the BBC for a definitive statement on this issue but have yet to hear back. However my understanding for what it’s worth is the same as David’s – ie that if an internal candidate is appointed to a Local Democracy Reporter role, the BBC funds for that role are not released until the post from which the internal candidate is moving is itself “back-filled.” A number of these “backfill” roles are currently being advertised on HTFP eg https://www.holdthefrontpage.co.uk/jobsboard/view/traineesenior-reporters-x-20-various/, https://www.holdthefrontpage.co.uk/jobsboard/view/seniortrainee-reporters-various/.

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  • March 27, 2018 at 10:20 am
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    Thanks to David Higgerson for once again donning his tin hat to defend the indefensible. God loves a trier.
    For the avoidance of doubt, the newly-minted local democracy reporter of whose case I am aware is not, underlined three times in red, being replaced. Whether that’s because they’re still expected to do TM stuff on top of their BBC remit I don’t know, but either way someone is gaming the system and either TM is profiting by it or the BBC is, depending on who pays whom and when.

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  • March 27, 2018 at 11:23 am
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    Of course web traffic is up! You’ve shut down well over 1million free d2d papers and web sites have a national reach. On top of that filling copy with out of area shared content doesn’t exactly make the dedicated want to keep forking out for increasingly irrelevant paid for titles.

    I appreciate this is your job DH but how about something that actually matters be shared. Tell us all about final revenues for titles when closed against the net revenues generated online.

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  • March 27, 2018 at 12:05 pm
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    Just an addition. In our TM office, the local democracy reporter is being replaced. But as the interviews for the role take place, the company tells us two news reporters are being made redundant.
    TM might be doing the right thing on paper, but it still doesn’t look good.

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  • March 27, 2018 at 1:31 pm
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    Good for you @Little Dutch Girl
    I too know many great journalists and advertising people who were moved aside now making a great living in the local independent publishing sector in Norfolk,happily watching the mess their employers constantly find themselves in, which is usually of their own doing.
    new magazines and community newspapers are going from strength to strength by picking up ex regional press staff, readers and advertisers and by managing the business correctly, involving all staff as they do so, a huge refreshing change to their previous employers who would love to have the ad revenues and reader numbers the new publishers are enjoying.
    Good wishes for your continued job satisfaction LDG
    Long live print!
    long live real independent community news publishing

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  • March 29, 2018 at 6:48 am
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    @steerpike I can only repeat what I said before on the democracy reporters: If someone is appointed internally, they will be replaced. This has already happened in many cases and is ongoing in others. If you want to say which newsroom or role you are talking about, I’m happy to look into it.

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  • April 1, 2018 at 5:42 pm
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    @davidhiggerson; thanks for the offer. Since I posted the above, the centre in question has been told it’s getting more print reporters as a result of the sundering of digital and print, one of whom will in effect replace the lost LDR, but whether that would have happened in any case is a question whose answer can only remain obscure.

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