The NUJ has released a statement expressing ‘grave concern about the future of quality journalism at Trinity Mirror,’ following the regional publisher’s ‘Connected Newsroom’ strategy.

Trinity said earlier this week that ‘Connected Newsroom’ would build on the introduction of the ‘Newsroom 3.1′ strategy first introduced at its North East titles last April 2014 and rolled out across the group last year.

Trinity admitted the move – which will mean increased use of audience data and the introduction of click targets for journalists – would involve ‘a handful’ of redundancies at the group’s Manchester, Huddersfield and Welsh titles.

The publisher added, however, that some new roles would be created and the strategy was ‘not about cutting or creating jobs.’ It also said Connected Newsroom would involve ‘a mobile-centric approach and greater use of video’.

The changes will start to be introduced from the end of September across Trinity Mirror’s core regional businesses in Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales, Manchester and Huddersfield, Wales and the North East.

Martin Shipton, chair of the NUJ’s Trinity Mirror group chapel, said the organisation was ‘extremely concerned’ by the potential for click targets, which might encourage reporters to ‘sensationalise stories, to trivialise the news…and to give up on more challenging, public interest journalism that takes time to research and deliver.’

“We want firm assurances from Trinity Mirror, backed up by a detailed written agreement, that the group remains committed to quality journalism and that it has no intention of dumbing down its output.”