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Regional publisher axes sports journalism jobs blaming ‘digital trajectory’

Five journalism jobs are understood to be under threat in fresh cuts to a regional publisher’s sports coverage, with the “current digital trajectory” being blamed.

HTFP understands six online sportsdesk editor posts are at risk of redundancy across National World, with four new roles being created in their place.

In addition, one of two football reporters covering Sheffield United for the Sheffield Star is set to be made redundant, as well as one of three writers covering Portsmouth FC for the Portsmouth News.

One of three sports journalism roles at the Shields Gazette is also believed to be under threat.


The redundancies come amid a wider series of cutbacks across the group with an estimated 34 editorial roles set to disappear.

The National Union of Journalists has claimed 54 journalists working for National World are currently at risk of redundancy as a result of those proposals.  It is unclear whether the sports roles under threat are included in that figure or are additional to it.

In a message to affected sports journalists earlier this month, which has been seen by HTFP, group head of sport Paul Clarke said: “I write further to our meeting held today.

“As we discussed at that meeting, a redundancy situation has arisen within the organisation.

“Since the transfer of the additional titles into the City World portfolio earlier this year a review has been undertaken of the sport coverage across the North East, Sheffield and Portsmouth.

“The level of sport resource in these three locations is not sustainable against the current digital trajectory.”

It is understood three of the four new sports editor roles will cover geographical areas, while the other will oversee coverage of English Football League clubs covered by National World titles:

– North: Edinburgh Evening News, Sunderland Echo, Manchester World & Liverpool World.
– Midlands: Yorkshire Evening Post, Sheffield Star, Nottingham World & Derby World.
– EFL: Lancashire Evening Post, Blackpool Gazette, Portsmouth News, Birmingham World & Bristol World.
– London: London World & ScoopDragon.

Ealier this week, the NUJ criticised what it described as the “poor handling of processes” related to the restructure, claiming members had been given “little clarity about the strategic direction of the business.”

One staffer, speaking on condition of anonymity, told HTFP: “The communication has been so appalling, nobody inside the company – unless those directly involved – have been told anything of the redundancies and cost cutting.

“We find out all our information concerning National World from HTFP.”Morale is at an all-time low, company strategy changes by the week, and in the meantime they are buying up small newspapers in Ireland and a Rotherham weekly.”

Among those at risk in the wider cutbacks are five deputy editors and three audience editors who are responsible for running the newsdesks of National World’s eight city daily titles – the Blackpool Gazette, Edinburgh Evening News, Lancashire Post, Portsmouth News, Sheffield Star, Shields Gazette, Sunderland Echo and Yorkshire Evening Post.

And earlier this week, we reported that Tom Hourigan, who took up the job of political editor with National World’s national news website NationalWorld last month, has quit citing “restructuring and a change in editorial direction” for his decision.

HTFP has approached National World for a comment on the redundancies in sport.

The company has said previously: “National World is consulting with individuals directly impacted by restructure proposals and we recognise that such processes are difficult for all involved. We are fully aware of the legal requirements in this regard and are fulfilling those obligations.”