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Journalists hold second day of action over cuts

Journalists fighting cutbacks at Archant Norfolk staged their second public demonstration.

Last month 70 journalists from the Norwich Evening News, Eastern Daily Press and associated weeklies took to the streets of Norwich to drum up support for their ‘Save Your News’ campaign.

On Saturday members of the local National Union of Journalists branch went to the coastal town of Cromer to meet the public and gather over 200 signatures on a petition.

The campaign is over Archant Norfolk’s decision to axe 34 editorial jobs from its newspapers and websites – down from the original estimate of 54 – and merge certain functions.

NUJ chapel leader Pete Kelley said: “We found that many people understood the problems we are facing and are worried about the effect on local newspapers.”

He added that Archant only needed to lose 22 positions instead of the 34 it was looking for.

The event was supported by Labour Party members David Russell and Nicola Mortin and NUJ representative Barry Fitzpatrick.

Archant Norfolk MD Stephan Phillips said: “We respect that in a democratic society people should have the opportunity to air their feelings.

“In addition to this public display, members of staff are coming to see me on a one-to-one basis to air their concerns as well as their own ideas for future ways of working.

“As we are not state-funded like some other media organisations, we have to tackle the financial challenges which we like many other newspapers companies are facing at this time.

“We have to look at changes in the way we all work and change is never easy in any organisation. We will continue to consult with our elected staff representatives to move the process forward.”

Further demonstrations are due to be held in North Walsham this weekend and Dereham next weekend.

  • The Bristol branch of the NUJ held a back-to-work event on Saturday which was attended by around 50 journalists. They were given tips about applying for jobs in PR, new media or setting up as a freelance. NUJ general secretary urged other branches to organise similar events on their patches.