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Media Journalists wary as Trinity Mirror looks to swallow rival titles

Daily Star and Daily Express up for grabs

JOURNALISTS are seeking assurances about their future after the company that publishes the Daily Mirror confirmed yesterday that it is in talks to buy the Daily Star and Daily Express.

Trinity Mirror announced that it has “ceased discussions to acquire a minority stake” in Richard Desmond's Northern & Shell and is instead in negotiations to buy 100 per cent of the newspaper firm.

Former porn baron Mr Desmond bought the Daily Express and Star for £125 million in 2000. He later sold off his 45 dirty mags in 2004 while hoping to buy the Daily Telegraph, although he only ditched his sex channels last year. Northern & Shell also publishes celebrity mags, including OK.

The possible takeover has raised fears of cost-cutting as print media profits dwindle due to plummeting advertising revenue.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) voiced concerns about the implications for employment and media diversity.

NUJ acting general secretary Seamus Dooley said: “The merger of national media titles would have implications for media plurality and diversity.

“We would want a clear understanding of how the editorial independence of the titles will be maintained. We believe that the best interests of staff would be served by the maintenance of independent editorial structures.

"There are a variety of implications for working practices and staff will be seeking reassurance about their future in any merger.”
 
The union will be meeting with management at the Express early next week to discuss the deal’s implications.

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