26 January 2015

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Strain of strike shows through weekly’s error

The front page of a newspaper contained a major blip when it promised an ‘exclusive’ that didn’t exist inside the paper.

Yesterday’s edition of Johnston Press weekly title The Selby Times, which is currently being run by skeleton staff due to indefinite strike action by journalists, carried a picture of a local family’s appeal to send their blind baby to China for sight surgery, prompting readers to turn inside for the full story.

The picture carried the heading ‘Blind Faith’ with a caption saying that the  family were to hold an event to raise £40,000 for an appeal to enable their daughter to see. However the story was nowhere to be found in the paper.

A union spokesperson said: “Whilst searching for the missing exclusive Selby Times readers are treated to four-week-old submitted school photos, council press release re-writes and a photo feature on Selby in Bloom – an event held a fortnight ago and already reported in the previous week’s paper.


The story to go with this picture failed to appear in The Selby Times


“It’s highly unlikely that the aforementioned unfortunate family – relying on much-needed press coverage for a weekend fund-raiser – will have any sympathy for the company, particularly in light of its belligerent stance in failing to negotiate with journalists currently entering the fifth week of an indefinite strike about job cuts and office closures.”

The union members today enter their fifth week of strike action against proposals by Johnston Press to axe 18 jobs at South Yorkshire Newspapers. Titles affected by the cuts include the South Yorkshire Times, Selby Times, Doncaster Free Press, Epworth Bells and Goole Courier.

Other items plugged on the front page did appear in the paper but included pictures of an empty civic centre building and a four-page ad feature devoted to the digital switch-over.

The spokesperson added: “Perhaps if senior management cross their fingers and say their prayers before bedtime, all their problems will disappear … just like their front page stories and the future of quality local journalism.”  

Johnston Press has not commented at the time of publication.


  1. Sub Pop

    “Currently being run by skeletal staff”. With the pittance that JP pay, am not surprised.

    Report this comment

  2. Patrick, Manchester

    Would be good to see local businesses in the towns affected by the strike withdraw their advertising, NotW-style.

    Maybe then JP might have a comment?

    Report this comment

  3. bones, uk

    i thought all JP papers had skeleton staff. if they persist in price rises (two this year in some cases) while putting out skinny papers they won’t even need the skeletons except to feed the wonderful websites.

    Report this comment

  4. Observer

    And another thing – who thought it’d be good to use a pun headline on such a sensitive story?

    Maybe they need some experience subs to tell them it’s not a great idea.

    Report this comment

  5. Mark, Sheffield

    Yeh, good idea Patrick, lose all the advertising, lose all the readers, because with the strikers continuously poking fun at the papers as the editors struggle through with no staff, the readership will drop, the reputation will go and finally the papers will go then all the strikers will have no jobs to come back to. I get what they are trying to do, and fair play to them, but do it sensibly guys. Don’t slag off your papers that pay your wages because once readership drops they won’t come back and that will be it for everyone.

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  6. Sunny side up

    ‘Mark, Sheffield’ makes a very valid point and I think sometimes you have to accept the inevitable, as I eventually did when I was made redundant from my job as a sub. In some ways I’m glad to be out of the newspaper industry, but I don’t think there’s any issue with striking to try and prompt fairer wages and fewer cuts. It’s just wise to do it without totally ridiculing your employer, as months down the road, sales might be flagging so badly that there’s little point publishing – skeleton staff or not!

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  7. York reporter, York

    We’ve heard a lot about these papers but what’s happened to Janet, the editor at Goole? Has she now left the firm or is she being redeployed somewhere inside JP?

    Report this comment

  8. Rainy Face

    Of course, errors only happen in newspapers when the staff are on strike…

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  9. Common sense

    Good point, Rainy Face. Obviously the number of experienced professional journalists working on a newspaper will have NO EFFECT WHATSOEVER on the resulting quality. Thank goodness for some common sense at last!

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  10. Harold

    That’s not an error … that’s a disgrace, as is the headline. Never mind what the problems are facing the industry, or that it has to be rationalised, that is shocking beyond belief. Those of you who still want to be involved with an industry like this, then you’re welcome to it. It’s enough to make you cry what’s happened to this industry.

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  11. dave

    Feel really sorry for the family. You only get one chance to kick start a campaign like that. Unforgivable.

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  12. Dearne Valley Reader

    When JP borrowed some thousands of millions to purchase the newpapers a few years ago, these businesses were turning a tidy profit, but now gradually they are closing down due to the JP policies and cost cutting, all the redundancies would not have happened had it not been for JP.
    The Selby Times big boob was caused by another of the square pegs in round holes.
    Where’s the subs? where’s the journalists? or shouldnt we ask.

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