Tag Archives: MEN media

MEN Media to launch new free business weekly

Manchester Evening News Media announced today that it will launch a new free weekly business magazine called ‘Business Week’.

Earlier this year the city lost a weekly business title after Crain Communication’s Manchester Business closed three years after launch.

The new publication from MEN Media, which includes an accompanying website, will be launched on Thursday 25 November, targeting “key decision makers in Greater Manchester”, a press release says.

The creation of the magazine has introduced two new editorial roles to the company.

Former Trinity Mirror employee Craig McGill on the GMG Regionals sale

Craig McGill from digital communications company Contently Managed worked at Trinity Mirror – at the Sunday Mirror and Daily Mirror from 2000 to 2006 – and has freelanced for The Guardian.

Journalism.co.uk asked him for his comments on today’s announcement that Guardian Media Group is selling its regional news business to Trinity Mirror. His reaction is in full below:

Well, this is just comical – or it would be if it didn’t show the state of hysteria in UK press ownership and the fact that it will probably lead to a loss of jobs.

Firstly, we have Guardian Media Group looking as if it wants to go from being a ‘group’ to just looking after The Guardian because I wonder how much this sale was driven by the £89.8 million loss that GMG made last year.

Secondly, The Guardian is the very title that tells us constantly – almost as much as it goes on about The Wire in fact – that local content is what people want, it’s the future, it’s the killer app that will keep people looking for news.

If that’s the case why are they dumping all their local content creators? Or are they admitting that instead of highly paid professionals, a couple of bloggers can do the job instead? Or do they just want to be London-centric with a stringer or two elsewhere? That’s hardly inspiring in an age of devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. What should readers in those areas do? Go elsewhere?

Secondly, what makes this even more tragic is that they are being bought by Trinity Mirror. Now there’s two aspects to this: one, Trinity Mirror continually says that it has no money and is skint. However, they managed to pull together a £44 million package – including nearly £8 million in cash – that’s hardly my definition of skint. That’s a complete slap in the face to the journalists Trinity Mirror has thrown out over the years and for the miserable pay freezes, small pay rises and ridiculous cost cutting measures that the survivors have endured – all because there was a lack of money. That £8 million could have done so much more in many titles.

To add to that, Trinity Mirror has a record of poor investment in the regions – it chopped the Scottish Daily Mirror from a team of 30 to one over three years, the Daily Record and Sunday Mail titles work wonders with a small budget but are walloped by having to do more with less each year, which lead to the Scottish Sun overtaking them as the best selling daily in Scotland.

This buy smacks of a panic buy – almost as much as it was a much-needed sale for GMG. Who are the losers going to be? The obvious one is the people who have already lost their jobs – more will follow, we can be sure of that. Over time the readers will be losers too as there’s less journalistic competition bringing more stories.

And even at the Mirror’s Manchester office, there must be people wondering what’s going to happen next. After all, does Manchester need two big news hubs? Surely a building merger is on the cards, followed by ‘shared resources’ and then ‘merged resources’.

GMG Regional Media chief exec confirms talks without naming Trinity Mirror

This morning, we picked up news that Guardian Media Group was reported to be in talks with Trinity Mirror, over a possible sale of GMG Regional Media, which includes flagship title, the Manchester Evening News.

GMG Regional Media CEO, Mark Dodson, issued a statement to staff this morning in which he acknowledged talks with an unnamed party, but did not confirm Trinity Mirror’s involvement.

A statement is expected to be released to the media later today.

A MEN media staff member said: “If the rumours are true, then this is a huge blow for staff at the Manchester Evening News and the weekly titles.

“Staff have only just got over a series of redundancies, with more than 70 people losing their jobs.

“This is just another kick in the teeth for hard-working staff who have seen the Guardian bleed the regional titles dry over the last few years.

“The worst thing is that no-one has communicated with staff – we had to find out through How-Do, and although no-one has confirmed it is true, they are not denying it either.”

Another insider said: “A potential sale of the MEN / GMG Regional to Trinity Mirror has been the subject of much speculation for the best part of this year, if not before.”

Update: GMG has issued the following statement, which does not confirm the name of any parties:

“In line with its remit GMG keeps its portfolio under review on an ongoing basis.

“Since the publication of the Digital Britain report we have been considering the potential for further consolidation within the regional press sector, and as part of this there have been some exploratory talks regarding our regional media business.

“However these are at a very early stage and it is not clear whether they will progress or what the outcome is likely to be.”

Trinity Mirror declined to comment.

Major MEN changes ‘are designed to protect the business and its journalism for the future,’ says GMG Regional Media statement

Following the news that 150 jobs – 78 of those journalists’ – will be cut in GMG Regional Media, this statement has been released from the group:

“MEN Media, publisher of the Manchester Evening News and weekly titles across Greater Manchester, has today briefed staff on a range of proposed changes to the business.

“The local and regional press is facing the worst conditions in living memory as the economic downturn exacerbates and accelerates longer-term structural changes in the behaviour of advertisers and readers.

“The viability of local and regional titles is under threat due to steeply falling revenues that we do not expect to return to previous levels even when economic conditions improve. Publishers therefore need to find a sustainable new model if they are to survive.

“The major changes announced at MEN Media today are designed to protect the business and its journalism for the future through a new model with significantly lower fixed costs.

“By far the largest cost within the business is salaries, and while we have examined every option short of job losses, it has become clear that it is impossible to bring stability to MEN Media without substantially reducing the number of people we employ. We expect approximately 150 positions to be made redundant across MEN Media.

“While we will seek volunteers for redundancy wherever possible, we anticipate that compulsory redundancies will be unavoidable. Those people affected will be offered significantly enhanced severance terms.

“MEN Media has reviewed all aspects of its business. In addition to salaries, we have targeted various other costs and looked at how we can
improve in areas such as advertising sales, working practices and editorial systems.

“The proposed changes announced today are summarised below:

  • Approximately 150 positions across all functions and disciplines to be made redundant within MEN Media. This includes 78 journalists across 23 titles.
  • One consolidated editorial team for the MEN and weeklies at Scott Place in Manchester, working across MEN Media’s various titles and websites.
  • All branch offices apart from Stockport will be closed in the coming months. Offices in Accrington, Ashton, Macclesfield, Oldham, Rochdale, Rossendale, Salford and Wilmslow will be closed.
  • Reporters will continue to work their patches, but no longer from a local office. There will be increased remote working to support this.
  • Investment in a new editorial system common to all titles, and training for all users. The new system has improved web and multimedia capabilities, and will enable journalists to work across MEN Media’s different outlets.
  • New layout and design for weekly titles.
  • Central section of common pages for the weeklies, drawn from the MEN’s leisure/entertainment content.
  • Greater sharing of content between the MEN and weekly titles.
  • A new house agreement to cover the new editorial department.
  • A revised pay schedule for journalists based on the current weeklies pay schedule. Journalists who are paid in excess of the schedule will have their pay ring-fenced and protected.
  • Fewer free copies of the MEN and weekly titles distributed.
  • Reduced pagination of the MEN.
  • Revamped advertising sales operation with greater focus on growing new business and selling multimedia solutions.
  • Better targeted advertising sales strategies, with improved use of customer data.”

Mark Dodson, chief executive of GMG Regional Media (parent company of MEN Media), said:

“MEN Media’s role is to produce great journalism for our readers, users and viewers in Greater Manchester. If we want to continue to be able to do this, we need to find a new, sustainable, lower-cost business model to support it. The economic viability of local and regional newspapers is under very real and imminent threat.

“The decision about job losses has been a very difficult one to make, and I deeply regret that it has been necessary. Nonetheless, I do believe this is the right decision for MEN Media’s future and for the majority of staff who will remain with the company.

“There is a successful future for local and regional journalism in the commercial sector, but we need to protect our businesses now to give ourselves the best chance of reaching it.

“This is a worrying time for everyone working in the local and regional press. Some argue that our industry has no future. I think this is completely wrong – people still want local and regional journalism, and advertisers want to reach those people.”

MediaGuardian: Manchester Evening News weekly offices to go – 150 jobs axed

“MEN Media, the publisher of the Manchester Evening News and 22 weeklies based in the north west, is closing all editorial offices of its weekly newspapers and axing 150 jobs,” reports MediaGuardian.

Production of the group’s weekly newspapers will be centralised in the MEN offices in Scott Place in central Manchester, the report continues.

Full story at this link…