The 237 staff providing 13 websites for Trinity Mirror regional news-papers throughout the country are waiting to hear how many of them will lose their jobs as the company retrenches to its core product – newspapers.
They were told by regional directors last Friday that responsibility for the websites was shifting from the separate digital division to the regional newspaper division.
As far as jobs were concerned, a Trinity Mirror spokesman said: "We are working to identify precisely what needs to be achieved and what resources this will require. This will involve a bottom-up exercise to assess the number of people we need.
"Given the reduced need for short-term development into wider digital media services, we are concentrating on our core business. Responsibility for digital media will move to the regional newspaper division and the divisions will reintegrate as soon as possible."
The IC network of regional sites was all that was left of the new media division after Trinity Mirror sold off IC24 showbiz and sports sites earlier this year with 85 job losses.
A working party set up to review all the company’s operations has now decided that as well as capping spending on new media at £25m this year and £15m next year, further redundancies are necessary. Trinity Mirror has said it will shed 800 jobs throughout the company, mostly in the regions.
Mirror.co.uk and dailyrecord.co.uk will be unaffected and the sites will keep their IC branding.
lThe Mirror’s relaunched internet site is building new users by around 3 per cent a day, according to editor Matt Kelly.
It had been frustrating that the new website was not ready for launch – it was still dummying – when the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center happened, said Kelly, but, unveiled on 19 September, it is catching up fast.
"We got in in the aftermath and it has been a real journalistic challenge," he said. Many of the new users were in the US, where there has been a lot of attention on the British press. "I think they find their own press a bit insipid," commented Kelly.
The site was relaunched, he said, because it was felt it in no way got close to the performance of the newspaper.
Operation of the site is now done in-house and, for the first time, a small team of internet journalists is working on the Mirror newsroom floor. Shiraz Lalani, who works on Kelly’s I, the paper’s internet page, is site editor and Amy Vickers is Kelly’s deputy. The site can be found at www.mirror.co.uk.
By Jean Morgan