Up to 10 editorial jobs are at risk in the latest series of cutbacks by a regional publisher which could also see a newspaper office close.
Newsquest has confirmed is planning to cut seven roles in Oxfordshire and Wiltshire, while three are under threat in Essex.
The company’s Trowbridge centre, pictured, home to the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald and the Wiltshire Times, could also shut as part of the proposal, with the company saying the Duke Street premises are “no longer fit for purpose” although it intends to maintain a presence in the town.
Newsquest says the changes will allow it to “invest in frontline reporters and content generators”.
It is understood the positions at risk in Oxford are assistant editor, features writer and sports writer.
In Wiltshire, the roles of sports editor, feature writer, content editor and weekly deputy news editor are under threat.
According to a memo sent to Newsquest Essex staff, which has been seen by HTFP, two remaining staff photographers, who cover the north and south of the county respectively, are at risk.
A production editor role at Basildon-based daily The Echo is also said to be under threat of redundancy.
A Newsquest spokesman said: “We continue to look for ways to run our business more efficiently in order to ensure that our titles have a sustainable cost structure for the future.
“A strategic review of the Oxfordshire & Wiltshire editorial departments has placed seven roles at risk of redundancy. We are also considering closing the Trowbridge office which is no longer fit for purpose, although we will continue to have a presence in the town and are reviewing a number of options in this regard.
“Separate to this, there has been a strategic review of the Essex region’s editorial departments. This proposal places three roles at risk of redundancy.
“Whilst the potential redundancies are regrettable, it means we can continue to invest in frontline reporters and content generators which are central to the continued success of our publishing business.”
The Gazette & Herald was previously based in Devizes until Newsquest closed its office there in 2013.
In a statement, it said: “The proposed cuts are being made to an editorial department that is already slashed to the bone following the loss of three subs, a news editor and the web editor to redundancy just before Christmas last year. Since then the newsroom has lost the assistant news editor and the deputy editor to more lucrative and probably less stressful employment in PR.
“It was the four members of the features department who were asked to step up and share a large amount of the work previously done by the deputy editor on top of their existing jobs. We are at a loss to know how we are going to cope. It is clear the people behind the decision have no idea just how much the staff in features contribute to the paper.
“It is also clear the decision-makers are not interested. Rather than pinpointing individual roles they have focused on numbers. Our sports editor is responsible not just for the Advertiser, but also for the Wiltshire Gazette and Herald and Wiltshire Times sports pages.
“The affected staff, who were described as ‘resources’ in their consultation letters, now face having to justify their existence in interviews. It is a horrific situation. They are being asked to fight among themselves for their survival.”