Serving professional journalism since 1912

Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Journalists

All change at Trinity Mirror

Newspaper group Trinity Mirror is changing its name to Reach. Shareholders have also approved the group’s takeover of Express newspapers (from Northern Shell) by an overwhelming 99 per cent.

Not all the news from Trinity Mirror is positive; its current annual report shows that its female staff were paid 18 per cent less than their male counterparts in 2017, and have received smaller bonuses (3.4 per cent less).

However, to put this into context, Media Scotland, comprising the Daily Record, Sunday Mail and local titles, had an even larger pay gap at 19.4 per cent and a bonus pay gap of 10.4 per cent. The worst overall performer is The Economist Group which showed a pay differential of 32.5 per cent.

Trinity Mirror Group showed a £90m fall in group revenue which they say was due to “a weak print trading environment” and is despite growth in its digital publishing revenue of seven per cent to £84m overall.

The annual report showed that the group had set aside an extra £10.5m for payouts to claimants that have accused Mirror Group journalists of hacking their phones. This follows the long-running set of court cases dealing with behaviour in the group’s newsrooms more than a decade ago and takes the total provision for hacking claims made by the group to more than £60m.

The forecast for “structural cost savings” is still estimated to be a further £15m this year and that is not looking good for staff as the two groups – Trinity Mirror and Express Newspapers – converge. Just days after the report was published, Daily Express editor Hugh Whittow announced his retirement and Daily Star editor Dawn Neesom said she was leaving to pursue a freelance writing and broadcasting career.

The name change, to Reach, may inspire forward thinking as two large media groups come together and kick past poor behaviour over phone-hacking into the long grass, but new horizons are rarely without clouds.

The Competitions & Markets Authority is now looking at the “plurality issues” and there have been assurances that the newspapers across the merged group would retain their editorial independence. The takeover deal includes the Daily Express, Daily Star, Sunday Express and Daily Star Sunday, plus celebrity magazine titles OK!, New! and Star.

Trinity Mirror’s annual report is available online at: http://www.trinitymirror.com/latest/news/annual-report

Liz Justice