When it rains, it pours for regional newspapers. Now the family-owned Midlands News Association, owner of the UK’s biggest regional newspaper the Wolverhampton Express & Star, is to cut around 120 jobs and shake-up its management structure to save £3 million per year, as the downturn in advertising revenue forces print publishers to scale back operations (via E+S itself).
With a daily average circulation of 138,116 for the Express & Star and more than 1,100 staff in total, MNA has for decades been one of the most lavishly resourced newspapers around. But now it seems that every business with exposure to advertising, particularly classifieds, is feeling the pinch: MNA staff were told in an email from management that advertising revenue “continued to decline with seemingly little prospect of recovery over the next 18 months”. The cuts are in fact the latest in a long campaign of staff reductions for the West Midlands publisher: 60 left through voluntary redundancies last year, 13 in editorial, and 69 left in 2006 — so far, that’s a loss of 249.