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Publisher accused of abandoning communities

The National Union of Journalists has accused Newsquest of “abandoning communities” after it announced plans to close 11 newspapers.

The publisher told staff yesterday that titles such as the Blackpool Citizen could close and the Bury Times could be produced from Bolton as part of a wider editorial restructure.

The NUJ says it will be meeting with its members to discuss their response to the proposals.

Northern assistant organiser Jenny Lennox said: “Given that just two months ago Newsquest North West management told us that there were no plans for further closures, it’s no wonder journalists feel betrayed.

“Just as one wave of redundancies is completed, managers are now looking to make further changes to editorial workforces to ensure they can continue to deliver big profits to Gannett.

“Local communities are being abandoned by Newsquest.

“The removal of almost all editorial staff from Bury to Bolton means that after 155 years the Bury Times will have virtually no editorial presence left in the town.

“It’s simply not possible to believe that these decisions have been taken with the long-term future of the papers in mind.

“It’s all about looking for quick-fix solutions to help shore up the Gannett share price.

“Management simply don’t seem to care about how their decisions will impact on the relationship between the papers and the communities they serve.”

No-one from Newsquest North West was available for comment.


Jan (10/12/2008 15:28:31)
Top marks for stating the obvious Jenny, but what is the union going to do about it? Presumably, you’ve ruled out active discussion with the management

Mr_Osato (10/12/2008 16:32:30)
Presumably they get about as much reaction out of the management as the staff or the HTFP hacks do, ie none. Why not go to the communities, tot he firms that advertise in these papers and see if they would be interested in getting involved with a new start-up. Times aren’t easy, but they’ll be even harder if the advertising bill goes through the roof because there’s no competition.

Death of local journalism (10/12/2008 16:51:03)
“No-one from Newsquest North West was available for comment.”
Newquest North West clearly need some media relations advice. Perhaps a job for one of the members of staff they’re thinking of making redundant?

ad (11/12/2008 13:03:41)
maybe someone from http should call newsquest wales and glos if you want to hear a real culling story

Old Clavian (11/12/2008 21:26:18)
Word on the street is that Bury will have a new quality free paper by mid-2009 anyway with three prominent local businessmen behind the venture (one ex Bury Times). Timed to perfection you could say.