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Newsquest daily set to axe photographers in fresh round of cutbacks

GilsonA regional daily is set to axe all its staff photographer roles in a fresh series of job cuts, it has been announced.

The Argus in Brighton has put its three staff photographers at risk of redundancy, with one picture editor role to be created.

The move, announced in a letter from group editor Mike Gilson, left, comes after two of its five photographers were axed earlier in the year, along with two of its three features staff.

It is the latest in a number of redundancies to hit Newsquest photographers in recent months, which has seen the group reduce its number of staff photographers and rely on freelances instead.

A journalist at The Argus told HTFP: “They made some redundant a while ago and the ones who remained felt they were safe then but they were told there’s going to be one picture editor and that’s it.

“People are really not happy about it. It’s just such a mess, we don’t know what’s going on.”

Laura Davison, national organiser for the National Union of Journalists said: “These photographers have already been through the redundancy mill once this year. Now just a few short months later they are being told again that their skills and experience is no longer needed or valued.

“It’s blatant cost cutting by Newsquest with no regard to their staff as human beings. The unjust way people are being treated across the company is nothing short of scandalous.”

The news comes after The Argus last week launched a new free sister weekly called the Eastbourne Independent as part of a newspaper battle with Johnston Press, which has just bought a rival title on the Argus’s Brighton patch.

It is understood that a consultation  period on the photographic job losses is now under way and is due to end on Friday 30 October

Last month, HTFP reported that nine photographers in total at the Bradford Telegraph and Argus, The Press in York and The Northern Echo were set to be made.

And earlier this week it was revealed that the Southern Daily Echo planned to axe two photographers as it moved towards greater use of user-generated content, freelances and images by other editorial staff.

No one from Newsquest had responded to a request for a comment at the time of publication.

32 comments

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  • October 2, 2015 at 7:59 am
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    When content needs to be more image led with great photos or short videos, the plan is to get rid of photographers.
    People need great images to draw them in.
    Surely investing in photographers and training them in videography, if needed, is the way forward.

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  • October 2, 2015 at 8:18 am
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    “People are really not happy about it. It’s just such a mess, we don’t know what’s going on.” Well, that’s pretty much par for the course these days for the real workers (as opposed to mercenary suits) in local news. Communications company Newsquest is only following the script in choosing not to communicate with HTFP (or even its own staff) on the matter. A destructive year enters its final quarter with no let-up in the job losses.

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  • October 2, 2015 at 8:44 am
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    Would Paul Devoy, head of Investors in People which gave an award to Newsquest three days ago, care to make any comment?

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  • October 2, 2015 at 9:13 am
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    How ironic (or moronic) after Newsquest launched the Eastbourne Independent with that dreadful pic of a hospital sign as its main front-page image.

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  • October 2, 2015 at 10:01 am
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    Understand from a financial perspective why ‘suits’ would consider photogs surplus to requirements when so many members of the public take and submit pictures. But it really fails to take into account how much of a difference a stunning image can make to newspaper sales or even pageviews -not to mention photosales (if they still do this?). Even a standard/every day shot by these photographers can bring a story or page (print or online) to life. Golam, as for IiP I imagine the award is only for that particular centre and unfortunately bears no relevance to this or the other unfortunate stories about NQ.

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  • October 2, 2015 at 10:18 am
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    sorry state of affairs. odds on reporters being asked to take pictures themselves, whilst at the same time diminishing their time and ability to do their OWN job properly? 1/100.

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  • October 2, 2015 at 10:45 am
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    I’ve run out of things to say because there seems to be news of another of these travesties at least once a week.
    Thankfully there is life beyond the regional press.

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  • October 2, 2015 at 11:10 am
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    Golam Murtaza: I would hope Mr Devoy is too ashamed of himself to even go out for a week, let alone make a comment on what was rightly perceived by all as an absurd and dishonest farce. Well, Mr Devoy? Are we right?

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  • October 2, 2015 at 11:40 am
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    The criteria for Investors In People must have changed, it used to reward and recognise companies who valued their staff and invested time and money into developing them , they need to think ads in if this is a shining example of what investing in people looks like

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  • October 2, 2015 at 11:51 am
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    Don’t think UGC could have produced that photo on the front page behind Mike Gilson, either!

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  • October 2, 2015 at 12:01 pm
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    They might feel obligated to hand back that award they won the other day for investing in people.

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  • October 2, 2015 at 12:02 pm
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    If the only goal is to save money why not go the whole hog? Make every single member of editorial staff redundant and then re-employ everyone on a freelance basis. Perhaps in time you could even get volunteers to send in their pictures/stories and run everything for free. You could call it ‘listening to the community’ or something.

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  • October 2, 2015 at 12:31 pm
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    That’s the way regional press is heading Cpt Pan
    As ridiculous as it seems that’s the way it’s headed with more and more jobs outsourced and freelanced
    I notice no sakes jobs are ever at risk yet here is where the real savings can be made, huge salaries and bonuses company cars and perks yet on the back of appalling results
    The sooner they do a clinical audit of who does what and what value and hard revenue each one brings in the better
    There’s no reason that businesses can’t deal direct with a person in the phone or via the simple and common booking systems out there that would do away with many of the fat cat and managerial roles in the regionals.
    The market has shrunk yet the sales rooms are still full to overflowing with ad reps and managers
    Time to redress the balance if anyone’s bold enough to do so?
    Until then editiorial and photo teams continue to get slashed

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  • October 2, 2015 at 1:36 pm
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    They must be going for the Divestors in People gold award.

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  • October 2, 2015 at 5:12 pm
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    The Argus was once renowned the for the quality of its photographs. Surely the editor must realise it’s game over for a once fine newspaper!

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  • October 2, 2015 at 6:07 pm
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    You must remember most of these big decisions are made by management ‘suits’, most of them former ad reps.
    People only become ad reps when they discover they can’t do anything else. Hence, local newspaper strategy is today in the hands of people who were pretty much useless at everything.
    No surprise, then, that the local press is in sharp decline. In twenty years, there will be very few, if any, regional papers left.
    The suits will leave with their big pay-offs, and that will be the end of that. A once great industry will have died from the utter incompetence of its leaders.
    What was that the Germans said about lions led by donkeys?

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  • October 2, 2015 at 6:52 pm
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    Second time this department has been going through this redundancy process – what an awful awful place to work!

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  • October 2, 2015 at 7:12 pm
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    I’m confused over this reported lack of comment from Newsquest. The chief executive was only too delighted to comment this week over the Investors In People award. Perhaps he is on holiday and can’t be contacted? Possibly.
    There’s also photographic jobs going at the newly-acquired Berkshire titles as well.

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  • October 2, 2015 at 8:06 pm
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    Has anyone ever known anyone come out of a ‘consultation process ‘ favourably with the suits accepting a better alternative than laying staff off?
    No I haven’t either
    Everyone knows that if your face doesn’t ft or you’re not ‘ on the bus’ with the latest hair brained scheme you’re on your way out.

    Too many good people put out to grass who have since thrived on local magazines or in competitor media and paying back the yes men ( now their competitors) big time
    There’s life outside RP and a rich and rewarding one it is too for quality staff and professional people.
    Onwards and upwards guys and hopefully you’ll soon be gainfully employed in positive where you can pay back your ex bosses big time

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  • October 2, 2015 at 8:11 pm
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    Wonder if a press photographer’s job anywhere will ever be advertised again..

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  • October 3, 2015 at 8:29 am
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    Looks as if both Newsquest and Johnston Press are slimming down their companies to make way for a merger.

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  • October 3, 2015 at 2:05 pm
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    I expect, like Highfield at JP, their CEO will be complaining in a year’s time that the websites use too many stock pix.
    They all think anybody can take pix of anything with a mobile phone but don’t realise that giving reporters cheap, rubbish cameras no more makes them photographers than becoming a newspaper director makes you intelligent.

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  • October 3, 2015 at 8:13 pm
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    Was Gilson only appointed to manage decline?
    These losses are tragic for a paper that was once a household name in Sussex , selling well over 100,000 a DAY!
    It’s current sale of about 12,000 must make it prime fodder for a loveless marriage with JP.
    Anyone on Argus fancy working for a JP weekly?
    Thought not, having seen some.
    Best of luck to all left behind at the Argonaut.

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  • October 4, 2015 at 2:12 pm
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    JP has same arrangement in Sussex area, with high dependency on low grade sent in “pictures” to fill space as they have no locally based reporting or snapping staff in, for example, Mid Sussex and Lewes areas. Some of the images used are truly laughable but JP bosses seem happy with them, which is depressing.

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  • October 4, 2015 at 2:19 pm
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    I have wasted thousands of hours “processing” submitted pictures that make me want to puke because they are so poor. Freelance budgets are tight to the point of strangulation. No good can come of those cuts, unless you are a bean counter.

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  • October 5, 2015 at 7:10 am
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    Crackington
    I always recall an ad rep cockily saying ‘ we are the ones who’s paying your wages ‘ if we didn’t sell no ads there would be no papers for people to buy or advertise in’ this fool is now a manager and presumably one who helps make these decisions.
    Seems time has caugh up with him them because fewer people are buying papers and soon there will be none for them to buy having all Turned free or been closed due to lack of revenues.
    And as for your all give in twenty years you’re wildly out
    Looking at the consistent rate of newspaper copy sale decline and worsening ad sales revenue trends neither of which show any chance of reversing and with the way people get news on an instant as it happens basis on line and on their phones it will be more like 3-6 years max.

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  • October 5, 2015 at 9:44 am
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    If you have been or are facing redundancy, lucky you, there is still hope. Somebody please close the door and allow management across the country a few quiet moments with a dying industry. Photographers, day in day out on their patch are ( were) the trusted face of the publication.
    Life after Just Pointless is much less stressful.

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  • October 5, 2015 at 10:33 am
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    The best photographers should be held on to as tightly as an umbrella in a high wind. They add so much to a newspaper, both in producing ‘unique content’ and as personalities in their region. How management think they can be replaced by reader’s snaps is ridiculous, clearly showing that how short sighted managers are thinking only of the money saved. Let’s be realistic and understand that sadly some staff cutbacks may be needed these days, but the best photographers make photos that add to the ‘product’ and are well worth the cost (greatly less than the cost of management that gets rid of them of course).

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  • October 5, 2015 at 3:23 pm
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    There’s nothing fresh about this latest round of redundancies. It’s the same old Newsquest story year in year out. In fact making redundancies is all the useless mouths running this company know how to do.

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  • October 6, 2015 at 6:43 am
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    user submitted photos are ideal for those editors who accept their paper is a brief 5 minute read with no longevity and s shelf life of less than a day. The lack of quality in regional press these days is the result of chasing a fast Buck and having to control cost which have gotten out of hand so the suits – primarily from an ad sales background, see the axing of photographers as an easy cost saving .
    Talking to one a few days ago it was incredible to hear him justify industry wide job cuts by saying that they’ll always need good sales people so their jobs are safe but we can soon get freelancers for copy and readers for ‘pictures’ at “almost next to nothing” which pretty much sums up the level of thought and intelligence in the ad departments these days , and with no one challenging that kind of idiotic belief and ‘ im alright jack’ mentality the cuts will continue to fall on the editorial side of the fence while the ad reps rest on their laurels feeling outside of any possible cost savings, ironic when most of the wasted cost and high overheads are incurred in that department due to high salaries and bonus albeit on a part of the business that’s been vastly under performing but seemingly allowed to continue unchecked, we never hear of job cuts or cost savings there do we ? and typical of the shallow thinking of these people many of whom are involved in the ‘rrstructiral’ process
    But whilst quality is no longer a requirement and no one takes a stand and looks at the out of control costs in the sales side of the business,this kind of axe welding will be common across what remains of the industry

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