Reach, owner of the Mirror and Express papers, is looking to hire social media influencers after it announced its largest mass culling of jobs since 2020 today.
The group, which also owns multiple regional titles across the UK and Ireland, will employ and train viral content creators as it eyes up a shift towards platforms like Tiktok and YouTube. These are quickly gaining popularity as news providers, especially for younger people.
It comes as Reach announced today it is slashing 450 jobs, 300 of which are editorial roles, in an attempt to cut costs by five to six per cent – and it has cut more than 2,000 roles since 2010.
Laura Davison, national organiser at the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), said the news about job cuts comes as “yet another blow to Reach journalists who have adapted at pace to company demands.”
“Members will be understandably shocked at the scale of redundancies, particularly with previous rounds already withstood in recent months and in the run-up to Christmas.
“Reach’s efforts to address economic challenges must not come at the expense of journalists who fear for their job security and the impact of quality journalism only able to thrive with the experience and talent of staff,” Davison added.
It is not the first, nor probably the last, of the job cuts though.
Earlier this year, the publishing group fuelled a heated debate when it said it is experimenting with artificial intelligence (AI) to write news stories.
In a memo to employees today, Reach chief executive Jim Mullen wrote: “I want to be very clear that these plans are about reducing costs against the backdrop of continuing pressures on the business from the economic environment we’re operating in.”
Reach, formerly known as Trinity Mirror, has axed over 2,000 jobs since 2010. Here is a timeline of them all:
In June, Trinity Mirror cut 200 jobs across its three national titles – the Daily and Sunday Mirror, and The People – as it started to look towards a more digital horizon. According to the British Association of Journalists, this move resulted in 168 redundancies.
Trinity Mirror cut up to 75 editorial jobs across its three national Mirror and People titles in February.
Eight editorial jobs were axed in July as Trinity Mirror announced plans merge the editorial teams of the Sunday Mirror and Sunday People.
In November, Trinity Mirror announced the closure of seven local newspapers and 50 job cuts. At the time, Simon Edgley, then managing director of Trinity Mirror Southern, said it was a “bold digital-only publishing transformation” for a “digital-savvy audience”. Trade unions described it as “catastrophic”.
Two photographers, a sports reporter and a sub-editor lost their jobs at the South Wales Evening Post in May.
A month later Trinity Mirror made 12 redundancies across titles covering Cambridge, Hertfordshire and Essex as it continued embarking on its restructuring of regional newsrooms.
Trinity Mirror made around 15 higher-earning roles redundant as part of a £15m cost-cutting drive in July. Editor Lee Harpin was among those who lost their position.
In October, Press Gazette reported that seven editorial jobs at the national Mirror and People titles were at risk.
At the start of the year, Trinity Mirror slashed 78 more regional newspaper journalist roles plus six at the Mirror titles, which it blamed on print declining faster than digital advertising growth.
In September, the publisher increased content sharing between newspapers and placed a greater focus on wire-copy from Press Association. It ditched 40 jobs in the move but created 15 new roles to be ‘community content creators’.
Trinity Mirror cut 98 roles in February in March as it underwent a restructure that separated its print and digital operations.
It bought the Express and Star newspapers from Richard Desmond’s Northern and Shell for £127m, at the same time rebranding as Reach.
Following the tie up, Reach said it was terminating 70 jobs at its national papers it no longer needed. In November, it cut 41 regional jobs as teams started working more closely together with a ‘common production model’.
In March and October 34 journalists lost their jobs in the face of the post-merger restructuring effort which tried to “remove duplication of effort”.
Reach appointed Jim Mullen as chief executive of the group in August, who remains there today. As of 2019, Reach employed 2,598 journalists and editorial staff across 150 national and regional press brands.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Reach axed 550 jobs – or 12 per cent of its workforce – in an attempt to save £20m, then £35 a year afterwards. Its advertising revenue sank by over a quarter in the first lockdown.
Early this year, Reach cut 330 jobs as part of a drive to narrow operating costs by five to six per cent. Today it said it is extending this goal to next year as well, with a further 450 full-time jobs axed.