It seems the owners of the Shields Gazette, Johnston Press are continuing to push through thier controversial centralisation agenda in an effort to drive down costs and reduce the number of staff employed on individual titles.
This time Johnston Press is targeting sub-editing and picture desk management at its North West titles – with the potential loss of 12 jobs.
The North West is the third area, after the Midlands and Northern Ireland, where Johnston Press has announced centralisation. Staff were told last Thursday, and meetings were ongoing on Friday. The plans – subject to consultation – would see sub-editing at Chorley, Garstang, Burnley and Wigan moving to Preston, home of the Lancashire Evening Post, with the loss of four jobs.
Sub-editing in Lancaster and Morecambe would move to Blackpool, with six jobs lost but three created, giving a net loss of three.
Five picture desk editors from the region would have to apply for two jobs in Preston, and two photographer roles would also go, bringing the total job losses to 12. Titles affected would include the Burnley Express, the Chorley Guardian, and Morecambe’s The Visitor.
Johnston Press has recently announced centralisation in the Midlands, with 49 potential job losses, and Northern Ireland, with 11 job losses. In the Midlands, the National Union of Journalists is proposing an alternative restructuring. In Northern Ireland, staff at the Derry Journal have balloted for strike action.
When the centralising plans were announced, Johnston Press’s chief operating officer Danny Cammiade said, “Johnston Press is a newspaper group that bases itself on its localness.”
Unfortunately this will come as no comfort to the sub editors at the Gazette who are likely to lose their jobs when the centralisation programme reaches the North East later this year and perhaps now’s the time to look elsewhere.
Mr Monkey has heard that STCentral TV, South Tyneside’s rapidly growing internet TV channel is expanding it’s news operation and is currently recruiting experienced journalists, especially those with knowledge of sub editing – so what are you waiting for?