NUJ attacks Elsevier over medical mag management

The National Union of Journalists, while acknowledging the tough market conditions, has accused Elsevier of mismanaging its medical titles since they were tranferred from one division of Reed Elsevier, Reed Business Information, to Elsevier three years ago.

The titles became part of Elsevier because it was seen as a better fit for them, being home to other medical titles, including Lancet.

Patric Cunnane, NUJ father of chapel at RBI, which still represents Elsevier Healthcare staff on union matters, said: ‘Over the past three years the titles have been badly mismanaged by Elsevier.

‘Editorial positions have become vacant and not replaced and there has been a high incidence of illness due to stress within the titles, to the extent that RBI’s occupational health team has met with management to ask why so many people are off sick with stress.”

The proposed cuts could mean redundancy for 32 staff including 19 in editorial jobs. Cunnane said the timing of the announcement just before Christmas made it difficult for the NUJ chapel to respond.

He added: ‘We have asked the company to look at the past proposals and find out if there is some way that at least some of the titles can be retained. It’s not just the jobs of the journalists that are at stake here; if these titles close it seriously diminishes the information that doctors in the UK will be able to access about their profession.”

In 2004, a number of proposals were discussed for the healthcare titles, including a slimming down of the editorial portfolio or an acquisition of other titles to boost the portfolio.

Elsevier declined to respond to the NUJ criticisms, but reiterated that the declining print ad revenues were a reason for the proposed closures.

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