Mirror and Express owner Reach to cut 550 jobs – The Guardian - Freelance Rack

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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Mirror and Express owner Reach to cut 550 jobs – The Guardian

The owner of the Daily Mirror, Daily Express and Daily Star newspapers is to cut 550 jobs, 12% of its workforce, because of falling income amid reduced demand for advertising in its titles.

Reach, formerly known as Trinity Mirror, said its group revenue had tumbled by 27.5% during the second quarter, compared with a year earlier, as newspaper sales and advertising plummeted during the coronavirus crisis.

The company, which also owns hundreds of regional papers including the Manchester Evening News, Birmingham Mail and Liverpool Echo, said more people had been reading its products online over the past three months, but this was not enough to offset the loss in income.

Reach said more than 2.5 million customers have registered to read its papers online, and it intends to increase this to 10 million by the end of 2022, against an earlier target of 7 million.

The group said the job cuts and other changes would cost it £20m, but save it £35m a year.

“Structural change in the media sector has accelerated during the pandemic,” said Jim Mullen, the chief executive of Reach, adding that the company had seen increased adoption of its digital products, “however, due to reduced advertising demand, we have not seen commensurate increases in digital revenue”.

He added: “Regrettably, these plans involve a reduction in our workforce and we will ensure all impacted colleagues are treated with fairness and respect throughout the forthcoming consultation process.”

Journalists in the company’s editorial teams are expected to be affected by the job cuts, as well as staff in the advertising and central operations departments.

The company said that its editorial department “will move to a more centralised structure, bringing together national and regional teams across print and digital to significantly increase efficiency and remove duplication”.

Staff at Reach are understood to be concerned about the plans to create a single editorial division, rather than the current split between national and regional papers.

It is also understood that the national and regional circulation departments will be brought together.

Employees were sent a memo by the group’s editor-in-chief, Lloyd Embley, and chief operating officer, Alan Edmunds, informing them that the company expects to cut around 325 staff from editorial and circulation.

The note said the restructuring plans “will have implications for everyone in our editorial, circulation and printing teams – both regionally and nationally”.

Reach has announced that it plans fewer locations and a simpler management structure for its local commercial and finance teams as it seeks to cut costs.

Staff at regional newspapers are thought to be concerned about the future of local offices, after many of them have worked from home during the pandemic.

Workers have been told that Reach is considering whether remote working should become permanent, and that the company will update them on its plans in the autumn.

Newspaper circulations have begun to increase, said Reach, as the government has eased lockdown restrictions, although they remain significantly lower than levels before Covid-19.

Reach said that the changes at the company will allow it to end the temporary pay cuts for staff, although a 20% reduction will continue for its chief executive, chief financial officer and other board members.

Journalists at Reach’s newspapers said in June they were considering taking legal action against executives after their wages were reduced by 10% at the start of April, which they claimed was “without consultation or consent” and with no reduction to their workload.

Several other news organisations have forced staff to take pay cuts or have announced job cuts amid a slide in revenue since the start of the pandemic.



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