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The owner of the Lichfield Mercury has revealed it plans to cut 550 jobs.

Reach PLC outlined the proposals in a trading update today (7th July).

The company revealed the coronavirus crisis had impacted heavily on advertising revenues.

Jim Mullen, chief executive officer of Reach, said:

“Structural change in the media sector has accelerated during the pandemic and this has resulted in increased adoption of our digital products.

“However, due to reduced advertising demand, we have not seen commensurate increases in digital revenue.

“To meet these challenges and to accelerate our customer value strategy, we have completed plans to transform the business and are ready to begin the process of implementation..

“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.

“The plans will provide a stable platform for us to accelerate our strategy, based on stronger and deeper customer relationships, increasing our appeal to advertisers – this will ensure the sustainability and profitability of the Reach business, enabling it to deliver to stakeholders over the long-term.”

Jim Mullen, Reach PLC

The Lichfield Mercury paused print publication in April after editor Charlotte Hart told readers that the COVID-19 crisis had caused “a dramatic fall in revenue”.

Reach has not confirmed where the 550 jobs – which equate to around 12% of the total workforce – will be lost.

But the trading update said a move to more centralised structures was likely across the business.

“The plans announced today will reshape the Reach business into a streamlined, efficient organisation with more focussed editorial, advertising and central operations.

“Editorial will move to a more centralised structure bringing together national and regional teams across print and digital to significantly increase efficiency and remove duplication while maintaining the strong editorial identity of our news brands.”

Reach PLC trading update

Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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3 Comments

  1. Sadly happening everywhere. The ad-revenues online are tiny compared to traditional print. It means that online versions of newspapers, such as the Daily Mail, resort to getting interns to spin Facebook / Twitter stories into hate-filled click-bait in order to push up comments, maintaining “stickiness” and increasing ad-clicks.

    Proper journalism is on the way out. Thank god for sites like this who are doing proper (probably largely unpaid) work to bring us our daily updates.

  2. We’re it not for news media how could we call our council’s to account? How would city events be publicised? How could the population be informed.
    That mantel now falls to Lichfield Live. True it is not investigative journalism, but neither was the Mercury. The changing face of media. We are lucky to have a forum for citizen debate.

  3. National newspapers (of which Reach plc own several) seem to be incapable of objective reporting and journalism, and serve increasingly as an outlet for political campaigners and activists. Hardly surprising that sales were in sharp decline before the virus outbreak, as the general public has shown limited interest apart from during election periods.
    Sadly the major television news networks seem to be following the same path. Too many correspondents seem to want to be the news, rather than report it.

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