Johnston Press

The company's managing director says the changes are part of 'the overall objective of creating a more efficient managerial structure'

Regional publisher Johnston Press has unveiled plans for a massive overhaul of its editorial structure with nearly 20 papers affected.

Johnston Press revealed yesterday that the editorship of the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post will be combined into a single role but the company has now said that editorships will be combined across several divisions with some roles ceasing to exist altogether.

Newspapers across the company's north-west division will be made to work together.

The editorship of the Lancashire Evening Post is being combined with that of the Chorley Guardian, the editorship of the Burnley Express will be merged with that of the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times and the Nelson Leader and the editorship of The Gazette in Blackpool is to be combined with the editorship of the Lytham St Annes Express and the Fleetwood Weekly News.

The editorship of the Lancaster and Morcambe Reporter will also be merged with that of The Courier in Garstang.

The deputy editor roles at the Lancashire Evening Post, the Blackpool Gazette and the Wigan Evening Post will also no longer exist.

In a statement Gary Fearon, the company's managing director, said it was part of "the overall objective of creating a more efficient managerial structure."

Following the announcement the current editor of the Lancashire Evening Post, Simon Reynolds, was placed on leave and is in "consultation with the company" with "further announcements on the editorship of the Lancashire Evening Post (to be made) in due course."

The company has also announced there will no longer be an editor-in-chief overseeing all of their Scottish publications. Instead, the editors of The Scotsman, the Edinburgh Evening News and Scotland on Sunday will report directly to the managing director of the Scottish Publishing Unit.

John McLellan, the current editor-in-chief, who has been in the job for the past three years, has been placed on leave following the announcement.

There will also no longer be a managing director for Argus County Press Ltd, which publishes 12 of Johnston Press's Scottish titles and the group will also no longer have a divisional newspaper sales director. The holders of both roles have also been placed on leave, according to a statement released this morning.

The National Union of Journalists have expressed their concern over the changes: "Johnston Press constantly seeks more cuts and higher profits to ease the financial difficulties it faces – difficulties caused by Johnston Press's own mistakes.

"At a time of great change within the industry, the decision to risk the loss of an experienced editor, on top of the job losses that have already occurred in the editorial department, can only be viewed with alarm."

These announcements appear to be the result of a consultation process that reported on in February and further announcements are expected in "due course".

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