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April 2, 2014

Sub-editing jobs at risk as Newsquest moves Sussex production to Dorset

By Press Gazette

Newsquest has announced plans to move the production and sub-editing of its Sussex local newspapers to Weymouth, where the Dorset Echo is based.
The equivalent of 11 full-time subbing roles in Southampton and Brighton are at risk following the proposed transfer – but the number of affected staff is understood to be higher as some of the roles are shared between two people.
A formal consultation is open until 16 May. Newsquest said the roles of Hampshire Society editor and Hampshire Chronicle deputy editor were also at risk of redundancy.
In a statement to staff in Southampton, Newsquest said: "In order to improve operational efficiency within the Newsquest Sussex business and to reduce costs, we are notifying you of Brighton's (Newsquest Sussex Limited) proposal to transfer their sub editing production contract with Southampton to the Weymouth (Newsquest Media (Southern) Limited) sub editing unit in Dorset.
"As part of these proposed changes all sub editing roles in the department at Southampton, with the exception of sports production, would move directly under the control of the regional chief sub editor, in a general subbing unit, working on any publication, therefore removing the distinction between news, features and supplements, and including the Hampshire Chronicle, Hampshire Society specialist sub editors."
The National Union of Journalists said the plan was "ill-thought out and not in the interests of local journalism".
NUJ national organiser Laura Davison said: "These proposals are already discredited. We know from experience elsewhere that shifting subbing miles further away from the communities the papers serve doesn't work.
"Readers deserve better than this relentless cost cutting by Newsquest. The staff affected cannot simply uproot their families and their lives. Newsquest is putting them in an impossible situation. And, to top it off, draconian pay freezes in five out of the last six years will also hit redundancy payments."
Newsquest is also in the process of moving production of its newspapers in the north-east to a subbing hub in Newport, Wales.

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