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March 28, 2017updated 12 Apr 2017 2:23pm

Telegraph titles to outsource sub-editing to Press Association with more than 20 journalists believed at risk of redundancy

By Freddy Mayhew

Telegraph Media Group is making a number of sub-editors on its Daily and Sunday titles redundant as it outsources their work to Press Association.

More than 20 journalists are understood to be affected, with a small production team to remain in London while the majority of the work is moved to PA’s office in Howden, Yorkshire.

A well-placed source told Press Gazette the move was an “absolute disgrace”, they added: “There is going to be a core operation run by the backbench with the rest being done by PA.”

They said there was “absolute outrage” today in a meeting when the news was broken to staff.

Consultations with staff have begun and an outcome is expected this summer.

In November last year the Telegraph dropped its metered paywall and began charging for premium content online.

A spokesperson said the group’s strategy of “concentrating our resources into exclusive content creation” meant it was “having to make some changes to our production model” resulting in the outsourcing move and redundancies.

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They said: “We have entered into an agreement with the Press Association to take over the production of some of the Telegraph’s print pages; they will also replace some of the work done for the past seven years by another third party supplier, Pagemasters.

“This will result in some roles at the Telegraph’s offices in London being carried out at a dedicated Telegraph production unit at the PA’s offices in Howden, Yorkshire.

“The Telegraph will continue to champion quality journalism, build a strong culture of excellence and innovation and look to invest further in our target growth areas.”

The Mirror outsourced some of its subbing to Howden in 2010 before Press Association terminated the contract.

Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said: “This news will come as another body blow to Telegraph staff – many of those at risk will be long serving people who live and breathe the paper.

“Members will want to know why the management is prepared to take the risk of outsourcing subbing when other companies have tried it and the track record is one of abject failure.

“It is also concerning what effect the cuts will have on the on digital operation.

“Subs work across print and digital and their contribution is essential to the papers efforts in this regard. We will use the consultation process to urge the paper to reconsider and keep jobs in house.”

Press Gazette understands that a dozen outsourced sub-editors employed by Aussie firm Pagemasters, eight of whom work in-house at the Telegraph’s offices in Victoria, London, could also be affected by the cuts.

A well-placed source said the team, which mostly designs and subs the weekend papers and supplements, had been told the “operation is being taken away from July” and that the “work will start to fade away”.

“It’s going to put pressure on the desk themselves to do more,” they said, adding of the PA contract: “It’s just a bit weird that they are outsourcing already outsourced work to another hub.”

The Telegraph said it has invested £500,000 into “Premium” paid-for online content that will create 12 new journalist roles working across “politics, sport, original video and audio output”.

In May the Telegraph cut around a dozen senior journalists, including chief foreign correspondent Colin Freeman, deputy editor Liz Hunt and feature writer Harry Wallop, as well as staff on the picture desk.

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