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54 jobs to go in local media shake-up

PUBLISHED: 08:00 13 March 2009 | UPDATED: 08:02 01 August 2010

FIFTY-four editorial posts at the media group behind the Beccles and Bungay Journal, Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News are under threat, it was revealed last Friday.

FIFTY-four editorial posts at the media group behind the Beccles and Bungay Journal, Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News are under threat, it was revealed last Friday.

Archant Norfolk told journalists and their editorial colleagues that 54 posts were at risk of redundancy under planned changes to how its newspapers and websites are run.

Announcing a consultation with staff, Archant Norfolk managing director Stephan Phillips said the company was looking to introduce “more modern and efficient ways of working” and ways to “develop and grow our content, particularly

online”.

But Mr Phillips said the consultation also reflected an industry-wide decline in revenue from advertising.

“We, like other media businesses, have suffered some effects of advertisement revenue decline, with a sharp reduction in property and recruitment revenue, and we need to make sure that our cost base is viable for the environment we are now facing,” he told the staff meeting.

“Most of you will be aware of the difficulties there are in the overall economy caused by the global downturn and other factors and unfortunately we are not immune from the effects of this. We also see no immediate prospect of this changing in the foreseeable future.

“The proposal is that the company would want to reduce the number of editorial staff by 54 and we are therefore proposing to enter into collective consultations with all affected staff through elected staff representatives.”

Archant Norfolk is planning to introduce a new £2m software system that will change working practices,

Mr Phillips added.

“The new system enables us to redefine our work processes and move our editorial teams to a more modern and effective way of working. We remain vigorously determined to keep and develop the editorial integrity and quality of our brands whether the consumer accesses them via print or electronic means.

“Under the new working practices we will be moving towards a single news team able to provide content for all of our print and web brands. This is widely becoming the accepted method of running a modern, multi-channel newsroom.”

Mr Phillips said the firm would look to “minimise staff reductions” during the consultation process.

“We are committed to the editorial quality of our newspapers and websites,” he added.

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