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.
“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.