More than a hundred job are to go at the publisher of the Wolverhampton Express & Star and the Shropshire Star as another Midland media company sheds staff.
Midland News Association said poor trading conditions had prompted its decision to merge its two main businesses, the Express & Star and the Telford-based Shropshire Newspapers, creating a single board of directors for the two firms.
The 120 job cuts, to be made across all departments, come as the company seeks to cut staffing levels by around 10 per cent in a bid to cut costs by £3 million a year across all newspaper publishing centres.
In a statement the company said it hoped the staff cuts would be achieved through voluntary redundancies across the group but added compulsory redundancies may be necessary to achieve the cost cuts.
Some parts of the production, finance and classified advertising departments at both centres will be merged, the firm said, and there would be some structural changes in the editorial, advertising and circulation departments.
As part of the reorganisation, printing of the Express & Star will be transferred from the firm’s West Bromwich plant to other group print centres at Wolverhampton and Telford.
Midland News Association chairman Douglas Graham said the company would become a fully-integrated media business.
He added the changes would leave the company well-placed to take advantage of new opportunities once economic conditions allow.
In a letter to staff, the company said trading conditions had been very difficult and continued to decline with seemingly little prospect of recovery over the next 18 months.
It said there had been a dramatic decline in revenues in the key employment, motoring and property categories of advertising and at the same time, costs of raw materials were increasing.
Express & Star managing director Alan Harris said the company was faced with the difficulties of how to keep its newspapers local to their communities but at the same time make cost savings as it was no longer able to rely on growing advertising revenue.
Both print and broadcast media have been hit hard as the looming recession causes companies to rein in their advertising spend.
ITV last month announced 60 job cuts in its Central region as it embarks on a restructure of its regional news broadcasting operations.
Ofcom has given the broadcaster its approval to plans to merge most of its news coverage in the East and West Midlands, creating one programme serving an area spanning from Herefordshire to the East coast.
The plans would see identical daytime and evening news programmes in both the East and West Midlands with just six minutes of guaranteed local coverage in the evening bulletin.
ITV’s executive chairman Michael Grade even suggested that the broadcaster could hand over responsibility for regional news to another organisation.
He highlighted a longer-term option of regional news being provided by an outside news organisation, paid for from the public purse and broadcast by ITV.
This summer The Birmingham Post publisher Bpm Media (Midlands) announced 65 job cuts as the company started the process of overhauling its Midland operations to cope with the downturn in advertising.
The company is investing heavily in digital opportunities, creating a single multimedia newsroom for The Post, The Birmingham Mail and The Sunday Mercury, and training reporters to produce content for both print and digital platforms.