At least 20 journalists face axe from Archant Suffolk

Archant’s two Ipswich-based daily newspapers, and their associated weekly titles and magazines, could lose at least another 20 journalists as a result of the downturn, the publisher has confirmed.

In October, Archant Suffolk revealed that up to five editorial jobs were at risk as it merged the East Anglian Daily Times and the Evening Star following the introduction of new content management technology.

And last April, the number of sub-editors working on the titles was cut from 26 to 18 as a new system was introduced whereby editorially trained “page editors” worked with non-editorial page designers.

In a statement to staff, Archant Suffolk managing director Stuart McCreery said the new cutbacks were prompted by a “significant” decline in revenues and profits last year.

“The outlook is not positive and we have seen other media owners close titles, shut offices and make announcements about staff redundancies,” he said.

McCreery added: “The economic environment for Archant Suffolk is very difficult too. While there is considerable effort and activity taking place to improve our revenue performance, it is clear that we cannot continue to operate with the same cost base.

“We have been in discussion with the National Union of Journalists to explore how we can make cost savings within the editorial department for several months.

“Unfortunately the suggestions put forward to date have only delivered small savings and further discussions with the Union have not led as yet to any suggestions that will provide savings to the level required.”

McCreery said that that the introduction of the new editorial system this year, Polopoly by Atex, will lead to a “more efficient workflow”.

He said that the new cutbacks could mean more than 20 people being made redundant – and that these jobs could go from photographic, production and the newsroom.

He added: “Where redundancies are to be made, we are committed to looking for alternative roles within Archant wherever possible and will ask for volunteers for redundancy before resorting to any compulsory redundancy.

“It is going to be a difficult time for the department and I am sad that we are forced to take this action.

“We will endeavour to give as much support as possible to all staff affected and conclude the process as swiftly as possible to reduce any extended anxiety.”

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