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Seventy journalists stage city centre protest

Around 70 reporters and photographers took to the streets of Norwich on Saturday to protest against proposed newspaper job cuts.

The journalists, from Archant Norfolk, were joined by readers, supporters and the National Union of Journalists for the three-hour demonstration opposing the planned axeing of 34 jobs.

The protestors vowed to keep up the pressure on Archant management in a bid to see even further redundancies after the original plan of 54 editorial cuts was reduced by 20 roles.

The proposed cuts affect staff on the Eastern Daily Press, Norwich Evening News and associated weekly newspapers and websites and would also see a new editorial system put in place and a merged newsroom.

MP for North Norfolk Norman Lamb was one of those supporters who joined the demonstration. He told the Norwich Evening News: “Your newspapers are very important to this county. They enrich the county. They help people like me to hold organisations to account.

“In a democracy it’s vital to have quality newspapers to do that. These cuts pose a real threat to the quality of the newspapers. And the way it has been gone about is stupid and cack-handed.”

Archant Norfolk MD Stephan Phillips said: “In a democratic society people have the opportunity to air their feelings and we respect that.

“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 funded by taxpayers, 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 are investing significantly in developing a state of the art newsroom which will help our journalists to create stories for both print and web more effectively.

“We therefore have to look at changes in the way we all work. We will continue to consult with our elected staff representatives to move the process forward.”