South Yorkshire Times reporting the looming cuts on its front page
Staff were told today of proposals for 18 job cuts in South Yorkshire and Humberside, which involve closing the Goole Courier's office and scrapping the editor's role at both the Courier and South Yorkshire Times, leaving a single editor based at the Selby Times' office to manage all three titles.
In addition, journalists at the Doncaster centre for sister title the Sheffield Star will now report to the Doncaster editor-in-chief, as well as Sheffield editorial management, and management are looking to cut a reporter and editorial assistant role in Mexborough.
Johnston Press was unavailable for comment at the time of writing, but according to the NUJ the company has blamed the cuts on "under performing advertising and circulation" and the need to reduce costs.
Chris Morley, NUJ Northern and Midlands Organiser, said: "These proposals show how flimsy are Johnston Press' claims to believe in local journalism to serve the communities where its newspapers circulate. How can a newspaper and website properly engage with the town when it has no editor?"
Morley went on to accuse Johnston Press of a "disastrous blend of hopelessness and defeatism" and said that the proposed cuts showed that the company had "no idea or strategy to grow the business or defend its staff and customers with a positive strategy".
A South Yorkshire Newspapers NUJ chapel official said today: "We have been expecting yet more cutbacks every day but the savage nature of today's announced cull has left us shocked and devastated.
"However this is not over. What happened to some of our members today will happen to others tomorrow and the day after that unless a line is drawn. We are confident that our members are now minded to draw it."
NUJ general secretary-elect Michelle Stanistreet said: "The job cuts are disastrous for quality journalism and local democracy. The cuts in Yorkshire are not insolated incidents and expose the ruthless business models employed across our profession."
Management are understood to now be in a month-long consultation with staff over the planned cuts, with the NUJ chapel to hold an emergency meeting for affected members on Monday.