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Ed Miliband accused of ignoring local newspaper

While he has been leading the attack on the government over phone-hacking, Labour leader Ed Milliband has been accused of ignoring another media crisis in his own backyard.

In a blog post, National Union of Journalists representative for the north of England Lawrence Shaw suggested that Mr Milliband was too busy attacking the Murdoch empire to show support for striking journalists in his Doncaster North constituency.

Journalists at both the Doncaster Free Press and Mexborough-based South Yorkshire Times are currently taking strike action over plans to cut 18 jobs across a series of Johnston Press-owned weeklies.

Other Labour MPs have supported the strike – including Shadow Health Secretary John Healey who represents the neighbouring constituency – but Mr Miilband has so far failed to reply to messages from the union.

Wrote Mr Shaw:  “These are cuts that will see the already tiny editorial team cut by a half and the paper ultimately edited from Doncaster some ten miles down the road.

“And they are cuts that have led to the NUJ within the wider South Yorkshire Newspapers group taking the astonishing step of all-out indefinite strike action.”

“If JP and the other regional newspaper companies continue down this road, there is no question about it – local papers like the South Yorkshire Times will simply close.

“If Ed really cared about sorting out the media in the UK, he would address more than just Murdoch’s empires and the national papers.”

The striking journalists today produced bootleg copies of their papers carrying news about the stoppage.

Journalists at the Free Press, South Yorkshire Times and Selby Times say they have made the move because they do not want their readers and communities to miss out on the real news while they are taking industrial action.

The first issues this week focus on news about strike but the next week’s newspapers will bring the important news from the streets of all three towns.

Mr Shaw added:  “These hard working journalists want to bring people in their communities the truth. We wish Johnston Press, whose slogan is ‘Life is Local’, shared the same commitment.”

Johnston Press has declined to comment on the move.


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  • July 21, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Ed Milliband ought to realise that it is the voters of his constituancy who have elected him and he should give them every support.
    When JP run down these local papers ’til they close, as they have done elsewhere, the strikebreakers will say, we didnt realise.

    How about the union members who are printing the papers at Dinnington? Enforce the picket lines, dont cross the picket lines, try to save the papers and the jobs.
    Come on Ed, they need your help now.
    It will be a sad day when these age old familiar local papers dissappear.

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  • July 21, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Yeah, well, we all know what the “Labour” leader thinks of unions and strikers, don’t we? Look what he said about the teachers/civil servants pensions strike – encourages people to cross picket lines. You won’t get any backing from him, sadly.

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  • July 21, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    I once met Ed Miliband. It was when I worked at the Doncaster Free Press. At the time, he was being given a tour of the paper’s offices, having recently taken up his seat in Doncaster North. Funny how he seemed to have an interest in the newspaper group then – when his own publicity mattered!
    Sadly, as much as I support the strikers at SYN, I feel their efforts will be futile. Newspaper group bosses these days always get what they want. You see they just can’t bare the thought of the slightest dent to their bottom line. Nor do they wish to see the champaign flutes of their shareholders run dry!

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  • July 21, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Ed and his Blue Labour cronies – and particularly his advisors – are out of touch with the realities of workers facing genuine threats. Forget he’s party leader – he’s our MP, and needs to stand up and be counted without fear or favour. If all he does is target headline-grabbing issues, and ignores the battlezone on his doorstep, he’s not the man we want as the next PM.

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