Independent on Sunday editor axed amid moves to merge Independent and Standard editorial teams - Press Gazette

Independent on Sunday editor axed amid moves to merge Independent and Standard editorial teams

Independent on Sunday editor John Mullin has been made redundant after five years at the title amid plans to merge it with the Monday to Saturday edition.

Further redundancies are in the offing as the Evening Standard and Independent editorial teams are also largely merged.

The cost cuts are needed to curb ongoing losses at The Independent and i, and to allow for investment which is needed for London Live – the Standard’s new TV station –  management has said.

Standard proprietors the Lebedevs last week were awarded the local TV licence for London – under the London Live brand – giving them access to Government funding and channel 8 on the Freeview box.

But while existing newspaper editorial staff will be expected to contribute to the new channel – the move will also be accompanied by a reduction in editorial numbers on the newspaper brands.

In statement to staff Evening Standard and Independent managing director Andrew Mullins revealed plans for a “complete restructuring” aimed at creating “one of the first truly integrated multimedia companies, publishing continuously on print, TV and other digital platforms".

While the Standard is now “self-funding” the Independent titles are still “significantly loss making” he said.

The changes will see the Standard and Independent editorial departments moved on to the same floor “as far as this is possible”, pooling of “journalistic resources” across all departments and a TV news studio to be built on the editorial floor. Independent on Sunday staff will be merged with the daily.

Existing Standard and Independent journalists will be encouraged to present TV news bulletins and produce video reports.

He said he was “unsure how many job losses there will be” but said consultation will take place across all editorial functions.

The Independent titles currently have substantially fewer staff than rival quality dailies. The Independent on Sunday has around 30 editorial staff.  The combined editorial headcount of the Independent titles and their websites is believed to be 190, with 120 journalists working on the Evening Standard.

Departing Independent on Sunday editor Mullin told Press Gazette: “I’d like to wish all my colleagues at The Independent and Independent on Sunday all the best for the future.

“I think over the last five years the Independent on Sunday team has produced a bright, vibrant, energetic paper week in week out that’s always been more than the sum of its parts. I have been very proud to be editor of the Independent on Sunday – a fantastic paper with a brilliant staff. It’s very sad to leave.”

Asked why the launch of a TV station (an additional outlet) has been greeted with news of job cuts at existing titles, Independent editor Chris Blackhurst pointed out the launch of a TV station was still two years away and that they were at the beginning of the process of planning for that.

He said: "The Lebedevs don't have a limitless amount of money and if we do need TV journalists going forward that money's going to have to come from somewhere."



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Author: Dominic Ponsford

Dominic Ponsford is the editor of Press Gazette