Twenty out of 56 journalist jobs will be cut at the Bristol Evening Post next month, after it emerged the publishers would drop the paper’s Saturday edition.
Staff at the Evening Post were also told this morning that the name would change to the Bristol Post next week, in recognition of the paper becoming a morning title in 2009.
Under the new proposals, an extended Friday edition with a weekend guide for Bristol will be launched and sister title the Western Daily Press will “offer readers an alternative on Saturday”.
Other changes include Northcliffe’s Venue magazine becoming a digital-only product, though listings and review content will be used in the Friday Post, the Bristol Observer and the local edition of Metro.
Folio magazine, currently jointly produced with Venue, will remain as a stand-alone monthly. The May edition of Venue/Folio will be the last in its current form and Dave Higgitt, Venue publishing director, will leave the business next month, said Northcliffe
The job cuts announced today include the news that all staff photographers will be given freelance contracts instead. A source at the paper told Bristol24-7 that it was a “terrible day for the snappers”.
It is unclear where the remaining changes in editorial will take place.
Bristol News and Media publisher Alan Renwick said: “We have undertaken an exhaustive review of our portfolio and the changing needs of readers and advertisers in our market.
“These planned changes give us a more focused and flexible set of publications which are much more closely aligned to our customers and give us a better platform for future growth.”
The most recent readership figures for the Post, covering the last six months of December 2011, show circulation was down 9.2% to 36,262.
In 2009, more than 40 jobs were cut across the Post and Western Daily Press, while another 36 were lost at the start of 2006 following a partial merger of the two titles.
Paul Breeden, chair of the Bristol branch of the National Union of Journalists, told BBC Radio Bristol this morning that it was “awful news” for the people of Bristol.
“This wasn’t on the cards and it is a great shock. It’s bad news for all the journalists at the Post and for the people of Bristol who depend on the Post,” he said.
“The editor Mike Norton has said he would listen seriously to proposals made by the NUJ and we will be putting forward plans to try to save jobs.”