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Sister dailies’ print operations to merge in latest ‘Live’ rollout

The print operations of two regional dailies are set to be merged into a single regional unit – with seven jobs set to go at one centre alongside a small increase in staffing levels at the other.

Reach plc has confirmed the restructure at the Manchester Evening News and Huddersfield Daily Examiner.

The company says there will be a net loss of seven roles in Huddersfield following the changes, while there will be a “marginal” increase in staffing levels in Manchester.

Both titles are to move to the ‘Live’ newsroom model pioneered at the Birmingham Mail last year whereby print and digital teams operate independently within the newsroom.

MEN office 1

The new model has seen a number of titles adopt ‘Live’ branding for digital formats in place of the newspaper’s name, but Reach says the MEN will retain its identity online.

At least 98 roles have been put at risk across the country since Reach’s predecessor Trinity Mirror announced it would be adopting the model last year.

A Reach spokesperson said: “It’s a restructure to accelerate our digital audience growth and consolidate our print publishing into a single regional unit.

“This is in keeping with the Live newsroom model we’ve implemented elsewhere in Reach.

“The restructure will create a number of new roles and will lead to a marginal increase in staffing levels in Manchester, and a reduction of around seven roles in Huddersfield.

“We’re consulting with teams about alternative roles and will be providing a full programme of training and support.”

It is anticipated that the new centralised regional print unit will be based in Manchester.

The distance between the Examiner’s office and the MEN’s, pictured, is around 24 miles.

The National Union of Journalists is seeing talks with management over the proposed changes which it fears will impact seriously on Huddersfield.

Chris Morley, NUJ Northern and Midlands senior organiser, said: “Once again our members are literally in the ‘firing line’ with the continued roll out of Reach’s plan to separate digital and print operations.

“The effect is particularly serious at Huddersfield given the existing team is so small after years of the company continually whittling away at newsroom staffing levels.

“I am concerned at the strains this will undoubtedly put on remaining staff and the union is clear that if anyone is to go it must be through voluntary means.

“We will be engaging robustly with management over this.”


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  • July 2, 2018 at 11:10 am

    Lord de Brulay of Bow (to use my proper title) is a Londoner to his aristocratic core so can one of my northern compatriots explain why the good folk of Huddersfield will rush to their devices for Manchester news and, presumably, vice-versa. My own Live site is still majoring on “secret” menus at cheap, fast-food joints, so I suppose vital stuff like that transcends regional boundaries and will work well in this case.

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  • July 2, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    Sadly, so many of Reach’s regional dailies are now filled with generic pap rather than local news and features that this will probably make little difference. When you can slot in page after page of identical features on handbags and cookbook reviews in every title from Land’s End to John O’ Groats, then any differences between Yorkshire and Manchester are utterly insignificant. I mean, it’s not like there’s any cultural, historical or social differences or rivalry between the two, is there?

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  • July 2, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    Somehow, I don’t think the stout Yorkshire folk of Huddersfield will take too kindly to this – a takeover from what is, to them, the wrong side of the Pennines!

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  • July 2, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    Cripes: I hope I haven’t struck a match on the tinder-dry moorlands of regional rivalry here; perhaps things aren’t as rosy as I imagined Up North. However, I’m sure the Business story on my Live site about the couple who have made a fortune out of bamboo toilet roll (I kid you not) will transfer seamlessly to the cobbles and cotton mills of the distant fastnesses of our kingdom.

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  • July 2, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    Clem de Brulay. As a proud Oldhamer, I must take issue with you resurrecting tired old cliches about cobbles and cotton mills. I would have done so sooner, but I was out walking my whippet.

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