Up to 20 jobs are likely to go next month when the sports and business departments are merged across the Evening Standard and Independent titles.
The titles yesterday began a staff consultation which they hope to complete by the end of the month.
Independent editor Chris Blackhurst told Press Gazette that ‘nothing has been decided about actual job losses”, adding: ‘It’s a merging of the sports and business desks on the Independent titles and the Standard and a pooling of production resources.
‘This is a genuine consultation process. I don’t think any thoughts have been given, certainly nothing firm, on which people unfortunately will lose their jobs.’
The decision to combine the departments was made after the board, led by chairman Evgeny Lebedev, called in consultants to carry out an efficiency review.
‘They identified two departments where they thought a merger could take place and that was business and sport,’said Blackhurst, who last month oversaw the Independent’s fourth redesign in the space of three years.
‘It’s not like they identified another and that’s been rejected. The two they identified specifically are the two that are going ahead.’
While there were no plans to merge its news teams, Blackhurst said “we are pooling production so that if subs on the Standard have downtime they can pick up an article from The Independent”.
‘All this is predicated on the fact that we are brother and sister titles,’he continued, ‘it’s one source of money and we need to use our resources as efficiently as we can.”
Since buying The Independent titles, which employ 175 journalists, in March 2010, the Lebedevs have increased circulation of The Independent through a combination of increasing bulk sales and the launch last October of a slimmed down 20p version of the paper called i.