The decline of the UK’s big city newspapers goes on and on. Trinity Mirror’s Birmingham Post & Mail were hit by a new round of 82 editorial and commercial job cuts, the longstanding editors of both titles are to leave by the end of year, and the daily morning Post is to become a 100-page weekly title. Trinity says that if it doesn’t act, its Midlands business is facing a £6 million deficit in 2010. Trinity Midlands cut 85 jobs in August.
Trinity says the new-look Post will be accompanied by a new “breaking news and comment service”, but there’s no way anyone in BPM Media will see this as anything other than a sad retreat. At the same time, the evening Mail will be printed in a single overnight edition, effectively making it a morning paper and removing its ability to respond to the day’s breaking news. Post editor Marc Reeves and Mail editor Steve Dyson are well-regarded figures — Dyson spent 17 years with his paper. Coventry Telegraph editor Dave Brookes becomes editor of the Mail.
Trinity spent at least £7.5 million on re-launching the papers last year and moving them to news offices with an emphasis on web-first publishing. Managers even brought in IBM to make print/online workflows more efficient, which it claimed saved 30 percent on running costs.
So far — and it’s not alone in this –Trinity has failed to find no economically viable model that involves printing large amounts of newspapers, printing news on them and selling, or giving them, to Birmingham readers. It appears that this latest move is only one step removed from shutting the titles altogether and focusing on new revenue areas entirely — if the losses continue, that eventuality will not be far away.