23 October 2014

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Thousands join Facebook bid to save photographer’s job

A Facebook group set up in support of a freelance photographer at risk of losing a rolling contract with a weekly newspaper has attracted more than 5,000 members in a day.

Andrew Carpenter has taken pictures on a freelance basis for the Harborough and Lutterworth Mail for more than 20 years but has now been told that the Johnston Press-owned title may not renew his contract.

The Facebook group was set up on Sunday under the name ‘Re-instate Andrew Carpenter’ and has attracted comments from many of the newspaper’s readers who have offered their support with some suggesting boycotting the paper.

Others have sent angry emails to Johnston Press’s head office in Edinburgh.

One commenter, Owen Wright, wrote:  “Not just a great snapper but better informed than most reporters, an honour to work with.”

The group was set up by Bill Piper on Sunday and by Monday lunchtime had already attracted 5,352 members.

However in a post on Monday Andrew stressed that no final decision had been made on whether his contract would be renewed and appealed for his supporters not to blame local managers for the situation.

“My Editor Brian Dodds warned me last week that we MAY STOP using you from May 18th 2012 but no final decision has been made.

“The decision has nothing to do with anyone local in the Harborough area but is coming down from on high. In fact the Harborough Mail team are completely supporting me and Brian is putting the case to the head office to keep me.”

Brian declined to comment when contacted by HTFP.

8 Comments

  1. herts hack

    Sad for the snapper involved but what’s the alternative? JP’s Northampton paper is just down the road and about to go weekly, so the photographic staff there needs to be kept busy. If it’s a choice between ending a relationship with a freelance and saying goodbye to someone on the staff, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

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  2. Aman

    Bringing the editor into it and embarrassing him like that won’t help his cause.

    The nature of freelance means no work is guaranteed. And it’s his decision to be self employed. Protecting staff jobs comes first.

    Sorry to be harsh, and I hope he finds more work, but you don’t get self employed workers in other industries reacting like this when a source of income dries up.

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  3. Jamie Gray

    Don’t give in without a fight, that’s my motto. Andy, you obviously know me and I wish you well for the future, I’ve never known a community so proud of a photographer as Lutterworth has shown. You are almost like a Mayor in the town. A joy to work alongside, I hope JP and other companies realise the potential for photographers to be a valuable asset to link them with communities. Good luck mate

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  4. Danny

    Why should protecting staff jobs be the priority? Surely it should be about making sure the best people are employed by a newspaper, be it freelance or staff people.

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  5. George, Northampton

    The first couple of comments appear to have missed the point completely.
    Andrew is not just ‘some snapper’, he is the reason the Mail is the best supported weekly that JP own.

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  6. Ugly Bob, Market Harborough

    They would be mad to not use Andy Carpenter as their photographer ! His local knowledge is unsurpassed, and his artistic photography is well above the normal level seen in other newspapers.

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  7. Richard Howarth

    Jamie, if you’ve seen the respect Andy has in Lutterworth it’s even greater in Harborough and that’s why the argument about staffers having priority misses the point. This is about the soul of the local press whether in print or online – what gives the press an edge and a chance for the future is knowledge and expertise, coupled with quality and reliability. Andy offers all that and is so much more than just a freelance photographer – hence the exceptional response.

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  8. paperboy

    This is JP 2012.
    If they keep Andy someone else’s job will go.
    Sad but true.

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