A group of 13 freelance photographers have been told there will be no more freelance work for them at the Manchester Evening News.
Last December the MEN axed its picture desk and put its photographic team under the direct control of the newsdesk.
Now it has told 13 of the 14 freelance photographers that regularly carry out shifts for the paper that in future it will be relying on staff photographers.
The one exception is a freelance regarded as a specialist in “snatch” pictures who has been retained to carry out court photography shifts.
The news was communicated in an email sent by the paper’s associate editor (live news) Wayne Ankers.
It is thought that some of the photographers affected have been carrying out work for the paper for more than 30 years.
The email from Wayne, which was leaked to HTFP, initially stated that there would be no more shifts available from next week onwards, week commencing 13 October.
However after it was pointed out that the paper previously agreed to give one month’s notice to all freelancers if the current arrangement with with them was to end, he sent a second email saying the last shifts offered would be for the week starting 3 November.
One of the photographers affected told HTFP: “I know Wayne is probably only the messenger for a decision made higher up in the organisation but to be dropped like this by email is an insult and totally bad manners.
“We are not a bunch of kids fresh out of media college but dedicated and highly professional photographers with many years service who have worked extremely hard to provide the MEN with the best pictures to be found anywhere in regional or national journalism.
“It would have been nice to have been called personally and told of the decision in view of our loyalty to the paper over so many years and not just dumped.”
There has been no comment as yet from the newspaper or from publisher Trinity Mirror.
Wayne’s original email read: “As you may be aware we have recently employed two videographers/stills photographers and now we have ten staff in the photographic department we feel we can no longer continue under the current arrangement.
“I have decided that we still need a court photographer but rather than spread five shifts amongst 14 freelancers we will be just using one photographer, Steve Allen.
“I understand that this will come as a disappointment to many of you who rely on shifts from the MEN.”