Next For Newsroom Integration: Trinity-Mirror In Wales; 17 Jobs Cut

New icWalesAfter, BBC News (soon) and Guardian Unlimited (coming), Trinity-Mirror’s Welsh newspapers under the Media Wales imprint are next in line for an integrated multimedia newsroom. Staff at the South Wales Echo regional this morning canceled meetings, “saying something major will be occupying all their time for the foreseeable future”, a source told paidContent:UK.

Turns out the Echo’s newsroom is being amalgamated with the national Western Mail and Wales On Sunday plus the Celtic imprint of local titles and magazines to create (following the same pattern) a “multimedia 24/7 newsroom”. Also following the pattern, there will be 10 redundancies (17 if you count the seven vacant posts that won’t be filled) plus the creation of new digital roles.

Online demands: The change is due to take place by the time the existing Thomson (NYSE: TOC) House building is revamped in March. BBC: “Some managers will lose their jobs and redundancy volunteers will be sought in the sport and photographic departments.” Edmunds: “The proposed management structure will be leaner but will be extremely effective for the demands we face.” The unattractive icWales online portal encompassing the titles had languished for several years under an automated print-to-web shovelware system but has started to benefit from the redesign process Trinity-Mirror is giving to the “ic” network and includes video, audio, hyperlocal coverage and blogs.

Job losses: NUJ’s new media assistant organiser for new media and Wales Lawrence Shaw told us: “It is ridiculous for any media outlet to try to actually reduce the number of journalists employed when they claim to be looking to actually expand their multimedia coverage. In fact, there is a stronger argument that they should be taking on more staff to make the new operation successful.”

It’s the third round of job cuts in five years for the group – Trinity Mirror (LSE: TNI) cut 55 jobs in 2003 and another swathe two years later after the publisher got in to severe financial difficulty. The flagship Western Mail has fallen from a circulation of circa 80,000 around 2000 to 36,255 in this year’s first half (ABC figs) – a pitiful performance for a “national” title even in the context of industry-wide decline – and is outperformed by its own local tabloid Echo sister (50,422) and rival regional titles. Edmunds has driven the Western Mail ever more downmarket since his arrival from the Echo in 2003, when he converted it to tabloid format; he now appears to have been given the role of “editorial director” across all Media Wales titles.