A weekly newspaper editor who yesterday published a front page story about his staff taking part in strike action today has revealed his own salary in a bid to highlight the “scandal” of low wages in the industry.
Journalists at the South Yorkshire Times and Johnston-Press owned sister titles went on indefinite strike action today in a dispute over job cuts.
Times editor Jim Oldfield, whose own job is under threat, once again published the strike story on the newspaper’s front page yesterday, following a similar front-page story a fortnight ago.
And speaking at a union meeting last night, the former national newspaper journalist revealed that he is paid just £25,500 despite having chalked up 37 years in the industry.
Jim reportedly told the meeting: “How can we continue to attract and keep the people we need to get the news stories that keep this country free? It’s a scandal.”
As well as revealing his own salary, he also said trainee journalists at South Yorkshire Newspapers were on £14,000; page designers £15,000; senior reporters £18,000; and assistant editors £24,000.
The union voted unanimously for strike action last week following the company’s annoncement of 18 job cuts across its South Yorkshire Newspapers division.
As well as Jim’s post, the jobs of sports editor of the Doncaster Free Press and editor of the Goole Courier are also at risk of redundancy with the Goole and Selby Times operations to be merged under one editor.
Chris Morley National Union of Journalists northern and midlands organiser said: ” It’s inconceivable not to have a story which involves the paper itself not printed in the paper when dealing with such important matter.
“The company plans to halve the team producing the best performing weekly paper in the region – the South Yorkshire Times. This is a paper that has maintained its circulation, influence and readership which shows that if you offer people top quality local journalism in print, they will still pay for it.
“The NUJ is completely committed to fighting these proposals and saving our members jobs. We hope the company now wakes up and withdraws the cuts proposals.”
The changes would see the Doncaster-based editor-in-chief of South Yorkshire Newspapers Graeme Huston taking over responsibility for the Mexborough-based South Yorkshire Times.
Mr Morley said the strike would continue until managment came up with a ‘sensible solution’ rather than ‘salami slicing’ the number of journalists.
Johnston Press had not responded to requests for a comment at the time of publication.