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Fairfax Media, which owns The Dominion Post and The Press among other publications, today flagged lay-offs of about 40 sub-editors.
The company said it had 190 sub-editors across the group and although initial indications suggested about 40 redundancies, no firm numbers could be given until after a consultation period.
The move is another blow to the news media industry. This month the New Zealand Press Association announced it was cutting seven jobs and last year TVNZ cut nearly 60 news and current affairs jobs while The New Zealand Herald's publisher, APN New Zealand, cut 70 sub-editors in an out-sourcing move.
APN said at the time it w anted to centralise the sub-editing of all its print titles with Pagemasters, which hired up to 50 people.
Fairfax Media said today that the move was part of its plan to have "national centres of expertise" for world, features and business pages on its nine daily newspapers. More generic pages such as the weather and tv pages could follow.
The subbing and layout of local and sports pages would remain under the control of individual papers.
Fairfax Media's executive editor Paul Thompson said the editors would remain in control of everything printed in their newspapers.
"Feature pages and world and business pages require an expertise that is not always available at individual newspapers and, through this proposal, we can ensure that all our readers will have the same consistent standard of editing excellence."
It is expected features pages will be spread across Wellington and Christchurch. World news would be done in Christchurch and business news in Wellington.
Mr Thompson said sub-editors from other centres would be encouraged to apply because with new technology, "they can work from anywhere, even from at home".
"We see this as a positive move. It is not out-sourcing."
The papers involved are The Dominion Post, The Press, the Taranaki Daily News, Timaru Herald, Southland Times, Waikato Times, Manawatu Standard, Nelson Mail and Marlborough Express.
Mr Thompson also announced that it was reviewing whether the business content of Fairfax's two Sunday papers and the Independent business weekly could be shifted to the new business centre.
The sub-editing processes of Fairfax's suburban newspapers in Auckland was also under review.