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Telegraph Media Group is to outsource the majority of its newspaper sub-editing operation to the Press Association’s Yorkshire headquarters as the UK newspaper group launches another round of cost cutting.
According to Telegraph sources, the company opened a consultation process with staff on Wednesday which is likely to lead to the departure of more than 20 journalists. The redundancies – which are focused solely on sub-editors who produce the group’s newspapers from its London offices – are likely to be finalised in June, the sources said.
The move comes as the UK newspaper industry continues to be hit hard by a steep decline in print advertising revenues. Enders, the media analysis firm, estimates print display advertising has fallen by as much as 20 per cent in the first three months of 2017 as advertisers continue to switch to online platforms like Facebook and Google.
Under the reorganisation, the Telegraph titles will retain a production staff in London of around 10 sub editors who will drive the production of the newspapers seven days a week.
At the same time a separate production unit will be established at the PA’s Howden headquarters near Leeds to handle the Telegraph’s production demands on a daily basis.
The group, which owns the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph papers, has cut the size of its newsroom from around 500 to less than 400 journalists in recent years following a series of cost cutting programmes.
Despite the cuts, TMG — owned by Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay — remains one of Britain’s most profitable newspaper groups. In 2015, it reported operating profits of £48.3m from £54.9m – a 12 per cent decline. The Barclay brothers have said they are not interested in selling the paper after rebuffing two expressions of interest last year.
At the same time as outsourcing the sub-editing operation, the Telegraph is to invest in six new editorial posts concentrating on what one senior executive described as the media group’s core strengths.
The new jobs will boost the paper’s coverage of key areas such as Brexit and rugby union.
“It’s a great shame that we have to make these efficiencies,” said the executive. “But if we are going to have to make these cuts then it’s important we also show we are prepared to invest in those areas of journalism which are core to the Telegraph.”
According to latest industry circulation figures, the Telegraph’s print readership dropped by 3.1 per cent in February, to 457k, compared to The Times’ 444k and the Guardian’s 154k.
Image via Reuters