Journalists at three local newspapers in Yorkshire are to ballot for industrial action over plans to move their subediting to Newport, Wales, more than 250 miles away. The workers, members of the National Union of Journalists, are employed in Bradford, Doncaster and York by the US-owned Newsquest group. Existing subeditors have been told they will have to move to Wales or lose their jobs.
Subediting has proved a popular target for newspaper owners looking to boost profits. In September, Newsquest announced that its Worcester “subbing hub” was being moved to Newport, affecting subeditors at Berrow’s Worcester Journal, the oldest continually published newspaper in the world.
Meanwhile, other publishers have been finding that subbing hubs are not the profit machines they thought. At the end of November, Northcliffe Media said it was shutting down its North East subbing hub in Hull and returning to locally based subeditors for its titles in Hull, Lincoln, and Grimsby.
Mark Stead and Tony Kelly, joint fathers of the chapel (office branch) at Newsquest York, said “Subbing hubs are a proven failure. They cause nothing but damage to the quality and integrity of local journalism while sacrificing talented and dedicated journalists with irreplaceable knowledge of their papers and their community, all so a parent company can continue to scoop up profits.” ■