Media: Johnston axes staff to focus on digital

Johnston Press is making up to 50 staff redundant in a relaunch of its paid-for titles.

Consultations over redundancies are under way at five daily titles that are becoming weekly papers in late May.

The Halifax Courier, Northampton Chronicle & Echo, Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph, Peterborough Evening Telegraph and Scarborough Evening News will lose their daily editions in favour of an emphasis on digital output. This is part of a shake-up at Johnston by new chief executive Ashley Highfield, formerly UK managing director at Microsoft Consumer and Online.

All of Johnston's 170 paid-for regional newspapers and websites will be relaunched by the end of 2012, with print prices expected to rise to create consistency across the country.

Richard Oldworth, chairman of Johnston's agency Buchanan Communications, confirmed that other daily titles, including the Sheffield Star and Yorkshire Post, would not be going weekly in the foreseeable future.

The editor-in-chief role has been removed at Scotsman Publishing and the editor positions at the Yorkshire Post, Yorkshire Evening Post and Lancashire Evening Post scrapped.

The Yorkshire titles will be overseen by a joint editorial director, while the Lancashire Evening Post editorship will be merged with the Chorley Guardian.

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