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Independent's plan to restructure comment desks puts 13 jobs at risk

Posted by Josh Halliday guardian.co.uk, Thursday 7 February


Thirteen jobs are at risk at the Independent as part of plans to merge the comment and Indy Voices desks, the National Union of Journalists has said. Barry Fitzpatrick, the NUJ deputy general secretary, said he was “deeply concerned" at the cost-cutting measures, outlined in an email to staff on Thursday. The Independent's NUJ chapel said last week it would ballot for industrial action if compulsory redundancies were made.

Plans to merge the two desks include the appointment of a new editor for both by the end of this week, according to the NUJ email. Katherine Butler is the Independent's comment editor; Amol Rajan is editor of Indy Voices, which was launched last year to compete with online rivals including guardian.co.uk's Comment is Free and Mail Online's RightMinds sites.

“The NUJ are deeply concerned about the lack of information and consultation involved in the changes to jobs at he Independent newspaper," said Fitzpatrick.

“It is simply not fair to treat a workforce in this way. It is very difficult for people to make decisions about their future career when they have not been given the chance to see any of the details."

It is not known how many journalists will work on the new merged desk, according to the NUJ email to staff.

The online comment initiative has helped grow traffic to the Independent website by more than a third since January 2012, to 970,899 daily browsers, according to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations figures released last month.

The Independent had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.


DATELINE: 7 February, 2013

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