The Argus to lay off more staff in Brighton

Posted On 04 Nov 2011 at 6:33 am

The daily newspaper for Brighton and Hove is expected to lay off more staff in the coming weeks.

The Argus, in Crowhurst Road, Hollingbury, has written formally to more than a dozen staff in newspaper sales and at least half a dozen editorial staff.

The letters invite staff whose jobs are at risk of being made redundant to a meeting this afternoon (Friday 4 November).

They are expected to be gone in four weeks’ time. Some have served the company for more than 20 years.

One employee said that 13 of the 16 members of the home delivery team in the newspaper sales department were facing the loss of their jobs.

They manage about 500 paper boys and girls and handle complaints about missed deliveries.

Their work is expected to be transferred to Southampton where the paper is now printed and where much of the editing work is now carried out.

Six sub-editing jobs went this time last year and a further six jobs in the editorial team look likely to go in the coming weeks. They include staff in photographic and features as well as the paper’s librarian.

Argus journalists on strike in 2010 - photo by Rob James

Members of the National Union of Journalists are due to meet this evening to discuss their options.

Last year they held a series of strikes and criticised the newspaper’s owner Newsquest and its American parent company Gannett.

A member of staff who asked not to be named said: “This is the fifth year running Newsquest has handed out redundancies to members of staff at this time of year – always just before Christmas.

“The handful who are left in Hollingbury go beyond the call of duty every day to produce a paper but, like the Grinch, the bosses just seem to take, take, take.

“It’s a bitter blow not just for the individuals involved but to the whole city.

“The people of Brighton and Hove deserve a local paper made in the city and staffed by local people.”

  1. Valerie Paynter, saveHOVE Reply

    Does the Argus need a new Editor? If a paper is failing it needs strategies and ideas for sorting things out and I consider this to be the Editor’s job.

    It was wise to extend and try to increase regional coverage and sales but it clearly has not done enough to help the Argus survive as a daily paper. It is truly awful.

    Without this paper in a position to offer proper coverage of Brighton & Hove City Council work, residents will be that bit more easily conned by councillors seeking re-election and making claims for themselves which may or may not reflect true performance levels and worth.

    I’m seriously worried about lapsed accountability without a healthy local newspaper vigilantly in place. AND WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE LIBRARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHO WILL RUN IT?????

  2. JB Reply

    One thing that might improve the reputation of this paper is if they stopped trying to imitate the tabloids or the Sunday Sport.
    The cover, and billboards, for the Argus often announce vivid stories of corruption or attempted murder, which turn out to be cat’s stuck in bins or pensioners getting two biscuit from meals on wheels instead of one.

    This city doesn’t need it’s own tabloid, it needs it’s own newspaper.

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  4. JM Reply

    So another daily is turning to staff culling to keep management/shareholders happy. And of course with no one from management available to comment on any of the media sites as UKPG or HTFP.
    Even editor Mike Beard is keeping mum (probably told to) , but his voice used to get higher and higher the nearer deadline time approached (when he a young deputy news editor) and so it’s now gone off the scale beyond human aural range with this crises – -that’s why no one can hear him….
    Anyway my thoughts go out to those with letters, I was in the same boat when Northcliffe (another caring sharing media group) shafted me earlier this year so know what it’s like

  5. JM Reply

    Pound to a penny says my earlier comment gets moderated!!!!!!!! But I bet it raised a smile……

  6. glenn oneill-kane Reply

    i have read the argus for about 35 years and i can say it has got steadly worse in the last few years it is not worth the cover price of 45 p

  7. Peter Poole Reply

    I buy the Argus a couple of times a week, but not s much as I did, and feel it has let down the local residents by backing various controversial political enterprises: city status and elected mayors most notably, while expecting to ride the wave of incoming trendiness and money. In truth, new money and transient residents didn’t care for the paper – they stuck to their nationals or newbies like The Latest, so that as the economy lapsed from 2008, the Argus lost the hope of new custom and had already put off its original readers. The only way is for it to stop siding with political ruses, have fuller coverage of local events and council affairs, and bring back Spiderman!

  8. Brian Hitchen CBE Reply

    The Brighton Argus used to be a byword for local newspaper excellence. Now it sits so long on the fence of controversial issues, that it is in danger of splitting itself in two.
    No wonder its circulation is dwindling, It has become hopelessly out of touch with its readers.
    It never attacks, or expresses a hard-hitting opinion on anything. People are angry about Council taxes, money squandered of crackpot projects, crime in general and drug dealing in particular, outrageous parking charges, filthy streets, filthy hospitals, overflowing garbage bins the size of garden sheds,
    a road system guaranteed to regularly bring traffic to a grinding halt, and enough road signs to melt down and build a battleship. And where is this anger reflected in the Argus? Ask the Editor. Because I can’t find it.
    Brian Hitchen CBE

  9. Valerie Paynter, Reply

    When I was a kid, my local newspaper had an “Uncle Ray’s corner” that kids would write to and their letters be published. And I always headed for what we called “The Funnies” – the half page or so of cartoon strips like L’il Abner, Blondie and Dagwood, Dick Tracy et al. Kids need a ‘hook’ to get the newspaper-reading habit and the Argus does not have one.

    The schools sport supplements seemed good to me. Did the schools, kids and parents notice?

  10. Hucklepickleberry Reply

    We used to buy the Argus over the past few decades for the LOCAL news coverage. If we wanted to hear about silly pseudo ‘personalities’ and national news, then we would buy a daily national paper.

    You lost a lot of customers when you took away the local communities pages. That was what we wanted information on, because it was relevent to us and our areas.

    I have watched the Argus change from a brilliant LOCAL INFORMATION paper, to some sort of tabloid chasing the daily newspapers, over the past 50 years.

    Every so often there is brilliance and local relevence, such as Trimmingham and Jean Calder, but you have focussed away from the people who matter – the locally born and bred residents, and pandering to the transient population, who shout louder to get themselves noticed.

    It is the born and bred Brightonians who are the backbone and the bread and butter of your newspaper – focus back upon those who buy the newspapers, and get those new reporters who don’t know the areas or spell the roads wrongly and get the history wrong – out the door! In particular, get rid of that idiot reporter who thought every resident who has worked hard for their home (and probably born and bred and tax paying into Brighton for many years) should roll over and let him take over their properties! Run him out of town!!!

    Word of warning – if Southampton based reporters dominate and interfere with what little local relevence we have left, then your subscription will be one less!

  11. Hucklepickleberry Reply

    Previous comment aimed at Argus itself, not Brighton & Hove News!

  12. Valerie Paynter, Reply

    Hucklepickleberry you make a truly brilliant point about the churn of new reporters who have moved to the area and know total zero about it.

    It means they are driving blind when ‘copy tasting’ and it means they are unable to put anything in context unless they have the time (they don’t) to do background research in the (often flawed) clippings files.

    It means some articles read oddly to those who have lived here for donkeys. And others look ‘thin’. And the staffing levels are now anorexic which does not allow enought time to write things up to the standard reporters themselves want.

  13. PJ Reply

    I said to a friend The Argus is dying , The Argus is dead was the reply -ABC figures are now 20k -how bad is that out of a possible 500k readers in Brighton and another 500k surrounding area.

    It needs a new Editor -hopefully a woman who has more idea about life than the present one- who I imagine will not be with us much longer- as all local papers , the trend is one Ed to run several papers.

    It was good while it lasted , I have not seen a court report for weeks , the basic bread and butter of any newspaper.

    Goodbye The Argus

  14. Dave Winstone Reply

    Brighton needs a new weekly newspaper -please may it have nothing to do with The Argus – A new Newspaper is needed with local journalists -it will wipe the dying Argus out , well overdue !

  15. Aaa Reply

    I picked up a free paper called Love Brighton the other day – anyone know anything about it?

  16. Peter Poole Reply

    It’s quite good, but not published in Brighton – I think the company that does it publishes similar format papers in other towns. You really need a letters page for a good local rag!

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