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Up to seven jobs to go in regional publisher’s cutbacks

Up to seven jobs are set to be lost in a fresh round of cutbacks by a regional publisher.

Newsquest has confirmed planned redundancies in Cumbria, which will see three feature writers roles at risk of redundancy in Carlisle, as well as arts and leisure writer at the Westmorland Gazette.

Those leaving the business will be replaced with a reporter working across the group on features and entertainment content.

In a separate move, six employees working on the company’s magazines in the same region have also been put at risk of redundancy – with two new jobs being created as a result.

The newspapers impacted by the cuts to features will include Cumberland News, Carlisle News & Star and the Westmorland Gazette, while the titles affected by the magazine redundancies include Cumbria Life, Dumfries and Galloway Life and Carlisle Living.

CN office

The National Union of Journalists has urged Newsquest to reconsider its proposal, which it claims was announced to unaffected staff via a note pinned to the office noticeboard.

In a statement, the NUJ Carlisle chapel said: “Our titles in Carlisle – The Cumberland News and News & Star have already suffered catastrophic cuts. We have lost all our sub-editors, four out of our five photographers, and most of our experienced reporting staff.

“The company is also currently consulting on a proposal to axe four jobs from our magazines section in Dalston Road. This NUJ chapel wishes to put on record our view that these further attacks on our journalistic capacity are cuts too far.

“Should the redundancies go ahead, they will leave our Carlisle newsroom with just two senior journalists in full-time writing roles on the news side of the business. This will damage our reputation in the community and therefore our business.

“It will severely limit our ability to provide quality journalism, leaving our titles largely dependent on junior staff and non-journalist contributors, who provide free content, some of it commercially driven entities.

“We know there is an appetite for impartial, well-written, quality local journalism, but this can not be delivered effectively by a newsroom where mostly junior staff are employed. That would be unfair to those younger staff, and unfair for our readers. We would like an answer to this simple question: ‘How will discarding three of our most talented, experienced journalists help our business to thrive and prosper?'”

The chapel went on to urge Newsquest to “invest in journalism”.

The statement added: “We understand that free, user-generated content is a valuable addition to our titles. But it should not replace journalism. Readers are less likely to pay for a product which lacks the depth and quality senior journalists provide. Our Carlisle chapel feels more could be done to exploit the digital potential of our features content.

“Should Newsquest press ahead with these cuts, our reputation will be so damaged it may prove impossible to attract young journalists to our business. Indeed, our staff now arrive daily at work with a hugely unsettling question at the forefront of their mind: who will be next. This is no way to run a business.

“So for the sake of our readers, our customers, our business, and our journalism, we urge Newsquest to reconsider. If this business is to thrive in the future, it must pursue profit through investing in journalism, not through constantly cutting costs by weeding out experienced staff, who are respected and trusted in the community we serve.”

The NUJ also said the magazine cuts would mean that most of the production work on the titles would now take place in Newport, Gwent.

A Newsquest spokesman said: “We’re focused on ensuring that we have a sustainable business that can support local journalism for many years to come. Given the very substantial loss of advertising revenue to other digital advertising platforms, we’ve had to significantly restructure how we operate and work more efficiently across the business.

“Whilst these potential redundancies are regrettable, it means we can continue to invest in frontline reporters which are central to the continued success of our local news brands.

“In terms of CN Group, it is worth highlighting that CN was a loss making business when Newsquest acquired it – we have now put the business on a more sustainable footing.  Newsquest also secured the pension benefits of CN Group employees, past and present, when it invested in the company.”


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  • November 6, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    “A note pinned to the office noticeboard.” If that is true it’s really a low for Newsquest. I’ve been involved in this process on more than one occasion and there were some appalling actions taken, but nothing quite as insensitive as this.

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  • November 6, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    This didn’t make the HtFP cut from the NUJ release: “The loss of journalists’ jobs at CN Group since Newsquest took over just 19 months ago has been staggering and undermined the claim at the time that the deal would enable the business to carry on ‘providing first class content’.

    “What has been evident is that years of journalistic experience and know-how has been stripped out of newsrooms for the inconvenient reason that it is deemed too expensive to employ in news gathering.

    “These latest cuts highlight this one-way traffic by putting the jobs of trusted and seasoned journalists under the axe. Newsrooms are increasingly losing their key advantage – local knowledge and insight.

    “My question would be how does this help build a sustainable business as Newsquest promised that it would when it gobbled up this family business last year?”

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  • November 6, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    Every story about staff leaving papers can now be summed up with this: “What has been evident is that years of journalistic experience and know-how has been stripped out of newsrooms for the inconvenient reason that it is deemed too expensive to employ in news gathering.”

    Despite what the Trinity/Newsquest/JPI/Archant spokespeople might suggest, it’s not about companies opting for digital over paper products that is the most concerning issue on here; rather that they are just throwing out the sort of people who are more likely to make any new ventures successful than the army of cheap, inexperienced twentysomethings being tasked with the job.

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  • November 6, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    Congratulations to the NUJ on announcing the latest round of Newsquest job cuts.
    Aside from urging them to reconsider – which I’m sure they’ll really take notice of – any ideas on how you could effectively help protect the livelihood of your members?

    No, thought not…..

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  • November 6, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    Well, Nikkon, have you? What do you suggest? The (two) full-time writers go on strike?

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  • November 8, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    Sorry Nikkon,
    you really should know not to ‘shoot the messenger’. The NUJ is constantly in a reactive and defensive role when attempting to oppose job cuts, which are simply cost saving measures that reflect both proprietorial and shareholder interests, rather than the public interest in supporting and developing good quality journalism.

    Newsquest have a frankly appalling track record in industrial relations: I once attended a meeting with one regional manager who point-blankedly refused to speak directly to any of the NUJ reps present, speaking instead through his secretary, who, as it happens, would not respond to any questions. This allegedly was an effort to AVOID industrial action over job losses.

    Underlying the malaise in the industry is the indebtedness of media conglomerates who still see acquisition as the easy road to placate increasingly fractious shareholders and debtors. The break-up of these media giants is inevitable (look at JP).
    However, this structural change should have prompted central government intervention decades ago… instead we are left with the spectacle of the dinosaurs in the tar pit, thrashing around for a way out, unaware that their time has past.

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