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January 13, 2023updated 16 Jan 2023 9:26am

Sunday Mirror and Sunday People to merge further with only three change pages remaining

The Sunday People and Sunday Mirror have been under the same editor since 2014.

By Charlotte Tobitt

The Sunday Mirror and Sunday People newspapers look set to begin sharing most of their content under new cost-saving plans at Reach.

Staff were told on Wednesday that the two Sunday tabloids would begin to share everything except the splash and pages four and five, Press Gazette understands.

Some redundancies on the titles are likely under Reach’s proposal to cut 200 roles across the business.

A well-placed source told Press Gazette part of the reason for the plan is to make savings on freelance and agency copy to fill the papers, but this is denied by Reach.

The Sunday Mirror and Sunday People have been under the same editor since 2014, when their newsrooms, along with the Daily Mirror, initially merged. All three titles are online at mirror.co.uk.

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The Sunday titles are currently edited by Gemma Aldridge under editor-in-chief Alison Phillips, who also leads the Daily Mirror.

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The Sunday Mirror had an average ABC-audited circulation of 217,140 in November while the People was on 77,300. Pre-Covid, in January 2020, they were on 367,244 and 139,698 respectively – representing a drop of 41% for the Sunday Mirror and 45% for the People in almost three years.

Both currently cost £2.20 and are largely reliant on newsstand sales over subscriptions. Some 94% of the Sunday Mirror’s circulation comes from single sales compared to 99.5% at the People.

The Sunday People was founded as The People in 1881 and was acquired by the Mirror Group in 1961. The Sunday Mirror began life in 1915 as the Sunday Pictorial and was renamed in 1963.

Reach chief executive Jim Mullen told staff on Wednesday “very tough operational decisions and strong actions on costs” were necessary because of a combination of “advertising weakness and prolonged cost inflation” creating a “double whammy” of challenges to the business.

According to the National Union of Journalists, some 102 editorial roles are expected to go in the total headcount reduction of 200. In total, 253 journalists have been told their jobs are at risk.

Also under the plans, nine Reach regional brands are taking a “newsletter-led approach”, with the Live sites in Berkshire, Hertfordshire, Sussex and Hampshire joining those for Norfolk, Suffolk, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire which began a trial in November. There will be no job losses on the four sites making the shift.

Some other regional sites not taking the same approach of “a website supporting the newsletter rather than vice versa”, for example the Live brands in Surrey and Kent, will also be tasked with prioritising engagement over scale.

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Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
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  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
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