Johnston Press is reportedly rowing back on plans to further centralise its subbing operations.
The regional press giant has already centralised sub-editing at dozens of newspaper titles across Britain in three ‘subbing factories’ in Peterborough, Milton Keynes and Northampton.
And it has been consulting staff over plans to further centralise operatons in Peterborough, with the loss of 40 editorial jobs. Holdthefrontpage is reporting that staff opposition has led to the plans being put on hold.
It quotes on un-named staffer:
“The whole process seemed to be going on for ages and we were expecting to be told who would be moving into the hub.
“But then out of the blue we were informed that it was all off and everyone would be staying where they were for the time being because of the negative feedback they’d had from staff.”
Critics of centralised subbing point out that subs are now often working more than 50 miles the patches they work on so lack essential in-depth local knowledge. They also point out that cuts in reporting staff mean that there is more need then ever for the legal safety net provided by experienced subs.
Johnston Press has experienced a couple of costly libels in recent months which some insiders believe are due to subbing cutbacks.
In November the Yorkshire Evening Post paid out “substantial” damages to Roman Abramovich after falsely reporting that he had threatened to kill Ken Bates.
In September the Johnston Press-owned Hastings Observer paid out substantial damages to a councillor after falsely reporting that he had claimed £91,000 in expenses over the course of a year.