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Monday, April 15, 2024

Mirror and Express owner to shelve 450 more jobs

Reach plc, the largest regional publisher in the UK, has revealed its plan to cut 450 positions nationwide, including 320 editorial roles.

This move marks the third major round of cutbacks for Reach this year, following the loss of 102 editorial positions in January and an additional 192 in March.

Employees received the distressing news from the company’s chief executive, Jim Mullen, who indicated that changes would be implemented in the way they operate, their organisational structure, and how they address the challenges confronting the industry.

David Higgerson, chief digital publisher, informed staff that affected journalists, working on papers like the Manchester Evening News, Liverpool Echo and nationals such as the Daily Star and Mirror, would be contacted by local leaders.

He shared details of new working hours, plans to merge digital and print content teams, and the establishment of a unified production and video hub for both editorial and commercial divisions, adding that they would “discontinue activities that no longer resonate with readers”.

Decision to downsize

The decision to downsize follows a decline in digital advertising revenues over the year, primarily due to algorithm adjustments that devalued news content.

Higgerson, in his message, noted that the current trading environment represents the “most challenging period for commercially-funded journalism” since he entered the industry in 1997. He also mentioned the BBC’s expansion of its online journalism operations as a potential factor reshaping the media landscape.

Higgerson stressed the necessity of adapting to the evolving industry to ensure the company’s resilience and the continued production of high-quality printed products, while also fostering new relationships with online audiences.

The National Union of Journalists expressed its dismay at the announcement, with national organiser Laura Davison underscoring the importance of securing the best possible outcomes for employees during this challenging period and urging Reach to engage meaningfully with its workforce.

While further details about the restructuring are pending, Mullen said the changes would aim to sustain their print products while expanding their reach to a larger digital audience.

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