More photographic roles have been placed at risk at a Newsquest-owned regional daily in a further move towards the greater use of user generated content.
Earlier this year the Southern Daily Echo axed the picture editor and deputy picture editor roles at its Southampton office and created a new role of user generated content editor in their place.
Now the title has announced plans to further reduce the number of photographic role by a further two, as part of what editor Ian Murray is calling a “move away from images provided by staff photographers.”
Although the chief photographer role will remain, three staff photographers at the paper have been placed at risk of redundancy with only one of them set to be retained.
The move was announced in a statement by editor Ian Murray earlier this month which has been seen by HoldtheFrontPage.
It said: “As part of the introduction of the Newsquest Newsroom of the Future project including digital streamlining of the multimedia newsrooms and content gathering across Newsquest, changes are proposed to the editorial department in Southampton.
“In the light of increasing user generated content, it is proposed to reduce the size of the photographic department from three full-time photographer positions to one photographer role. The role of Chief Photographer is not affected by this proposal.
“The proposed changes would see the emphasis move away from images provided by staff photographers and towards greater use of freelancers, user generated contest and images provided by other members of the editorial staff.”
The consultation began earlier this month and is due to end on Friday 16 October.
Chris Morley, NUJ national Newsquest coordinator, said: “These photographic cuts are the latest in a long, dismal line of similar cuts elsewhere in the country. They are a grave mistake and put trusted and respected media titles under real reputational risk.
“Stories about individuals and organisations unable to afford their own professional photography will be increasingly marginalised. erification and authenticity of user-generated content will be increasingly difficult to achieve, opening Newsquest to attacks on the reputation of its titles.”