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Newsquest title reports on its own job losses

A North West newspaper has reported on a strike that is taking place by journalists who work at the title.

Newsquest title the Warrington Guardian yesterday reported on the strike action that began at it North west titles in Cheshire  on Wednesday over seven proposed job losses across the 12 newspapers in the group.

A second day of strike action by members of the National Union of Journalists is set to take place on Tuesday.

A 30-day consultation is currently in place to decide who is at risk at the Warrington Guardian, Northwich Guardian, Sale and Altrincham Messenger, St Helens Star and the Wirral Globe.

The report in the Guardian, where 20 journalists took to the picket line, quotes Chris Hughes, regional managing director for Newsquest’s north west division.

Said Chris: “Sadly, we are not immune from the effects of the current economic cycle.

“The local and regional press, like many other businesses, face extremely difficult decisions.

“Job losses are always the act of last resort. Unfortunately, to protect the long term interests of the newspapers we publish, we have to reduce our operating costs across all disciplines, including editorial.”

The strikers this week told HTFP that they feared for the future over because of increased workloads that the cuts would create.

They are currently working to rule and will continue with the industrial action until management agree to high level talks.

NUJ assistant organiser for the North and Midlands, Lawrence Shaw, said: “NUJ members felt they had no choice but to take the last resort step of strike action to save jobs as management refused to even suspend the consultation process which is all we had asked for.

“The company have resolutely failed to give the NUJ chapel real answers as to how they can justify the redundancies or how the same amount of work will be completed with less staff in the future. They are even targeting young low-paid trainees with redundancy – which will hardly save the company any money in the long term as they are very low paid.”

“Newsquest in Cheshire and Merseyside made £7 million in profit last year. Before any job cuts are made, we believe they should open their books to show us the real financial situation as it stands.”

This is not the first time a newspaper has reported on its own job losses. Former editor of Johnston Press title the South Yorkshire Times, Jim Oldfield, carried a story on redundancies at South Yorkshire Newspapers on the front page of the paper. He has since been made redundant.




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  • September 16, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Before anyone congratulates brave Newsquest for fearlessly reporting on a strike by its own journalists, just consider that the story which appeared in the newspaper yesterday didn’t carry a quote from the NUJ, and the union wasn’t even contacted for one.

    A quote from me did appear briefly on the web story yesterday, but then it was mysteriously disappeared. If you look at the story on the Warrington Guardian now, readers have noticed that the NUJ quotes have been taken out and are asking why.

    Some other websites and blogs have picked up on this angle.

    I have written to the editor demanding an equal space right to reply in next weeks edition and would urge the company to give their readers both sides of the story on the web story.

    If this is not forthcoming, the NUJ will consider a complaint to the PCC. The story appears to breach Newsquest’s own written policies on ethics and right to reply.

    The question to ask is if the Warrington Guardian (or any paper) was running a story on any other industrial dispute would it ignore the arguments and position of one side of the dispute? Would it not even contact one side of the dispute for a comment?

    Far from being congratulated for this, Newsquest should be ashamed of what they are doing. All they have done here is give the people of Warrington some biased political propaganda – not news.

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  • September 16, 2011 at 11:09 am

    While agreeing with everything Lawrence has said at least for once Newsquest is admitting what is happening. A small step in the right direction despite the political bias. Hopefully a lot of people are savvy enough these days to work out the difference between propaganda and proper balanced news. The mere fact that this piece carried the headline: ‘Newsquest title reports its own job losses’ speaks volumes. There certainly shouldn’t be congratulations for a newspaper reporting news in its own community but even acknowledging the strike in print is a start for an organisation like Newsquest.

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  • September 16, 2011 at 11:48 am

    When I was made redundant as a sub on a weekly newspaper, the newspaper carried a report of my departure but implied that the reason why I had departed – cheerily and in high spirits apparently – was to start my own business. No mention whatsoever of the fact that I was made redundant!

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  • September 16, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    You live by the sword, you die by the sword. You will have been twisting quotes and statements as a matter of course over the years to make stories sing. As journalists do. Now the boot’s on the other foot.

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