Chris Story, the editor of the Carlisle News & Star, is leaving his position without a replacement, while the Westmorland Gazette editor Andrew Thomas is facing redundancy, according to the NUJ.
The union added that the associate editor and content editor of the Workington Times & Star and Whitehaven News were at risk of being made redundant. The proposals would leave Newsquest Cumbria group editor Vanessa Sims in sole charge of all Newsquest tiles across the county.
“The union and local journalists have unfortunately become accustomed to the company wielding the axe on jobs and quality local journalism just before Christmas,” the NUJ said.
Story, who took on his current role in April last year, is understood to have taken voluntary redundancy. The union has further revealed that the post of weekly multi-media content manager, responsible for producing much of the Darlington and Stockton Times, was being made redundant, along with a sports editor (production) and a freelance specialist writer.
Darlington is also set to lose its IT technician as part of a nationwide cull of 14 jobs, according to the union.
The NUJ Darlington chapel said in a statement: “The chapel has already raised concerns about the level of staffing, workloads and consequences for the health and well-being of members, so the announcement of further redundancies at this time is devastating to all concerned.
“Five senior reporters have already left the company this year for better jobs. We believe the situation in editorial is at crisis level and would like to see the company address this issue urgently.”
Chris Morley, Newsquest NUJ group chapel coordinator, said: “”Many of the workers being cast aside are crucial to the output of their titles and associated websites and colleagues find it difficult to understand how any semblance of quality can be maintained once they leave.
“The job losses are most often older, more experienced staff whose local knowledge and invaluable experience are being lost to the detriment of their local communities.
“We challenge Newsquest to show that it is safe to make these cuts and will not pose a risk to the health of those expected to pick up the pieces.”