The regional publishing boss set out a series of thoughts about about future role of journalists in his group in a 2,000-word essay originally leaked to Press Gazette last week.
Local World has since stressed that the essay, which suggested some weeklies could be run by a single journalist, was an “internal working paper” rather than a detailed blueprint for the future of the industry.
However the NUJ says says the “jargon-laden” mission statement will “reduce newspapers to notice boards” and kill off investigative journalism.
Deputy general secretary Barry Fitzpatrick said: “This is a very dangerous vision. What he appears to be suggesting is that the police, schools, Tesco and other organisations can put their press releases directly into the local paper, without verification or comment.
“To take copy in this way denies readers a balanced coverage of the story and is an open invitation to vested-interest journalism. All organisations will be able to promote their propaganda unhindered.
“I cannot see that the public would want to pay for a notice board of organisations’ press releases and there are already signs that advertisers are not convinced either.
“It also appears there is no place for professional photographers in Montgomery’s vision. Readers will be able to tell the difference between pictures taken by their local photographer who works within their community and random snaps taken on mobile phone cameras sent in by the public.”
Mr Montgomery’s essay envisaged some weekly papers being staffed by a single journalist whose role would be to put together the paper by “skimming” existing online content.
It also suggests that most journalists would work remotely and be on call 24/7 rather than working to fixed shift patterns.
The majority of content, according to the document, would be produced by third-party contributors and public authorities, with the journalist’s role being to assemble it in “attractive formats.”
It says that the journalists of the future will combine all the “traditional skills” of reporter, sub-editor, and editor-in-chief, along with “online agility” and basic design ability.
The media commentator and blogger Steve Dyson has also hit out at the vision document claiming it showed “contempt” for the regional media industry.
Writing in MediaGuardian, he said the missive made “no attempt to motivate, inspire or lead his troops; instead, he denounces their profession, embarrasses his managers and depresses the entire industry.”
In a statement last week, Local World said: “Our strategy is built around enriched content and this internal working paper is to help inform the work on building systems which free our journalists up to focus on creating, sourcing and managing content.”
The company has declined to comment further.