Martin Shipton, left, of the Western Mail, has also accused elements within parent company Trinity Mirror and sister title the North Wales Daily Post of being “anti-politics” and assuming readers are more interested in “lifestyle type journalism.”
It follow the announcement last month that at least 15 jobs were set to be lost in Birmingham, Liverpool, North Wales and the South East.
In the same restructure, it announced plans to move the Daily Post’s political reporter from Cardiff to Llandudno, meaning the newspaper would no longer have a specialist based at the Welsh Assembly in the capital.
NUJ members at the Daily Post voted last week to hold a strike ballot over the proposals.
Said Martin: “I think there are elements within Trinity Mirror, and certainly within the Daily Post, which have a rather anti-politics approach, and they have convinced themselves that the public are more interested in lifestyle type journalism and that they’re more interested in reading about burgers than they are in reading about important decisions that are taken about their lives in the National Assembly.”
“That’s an extremely short-sighted view and it’s also a view that is driven by a very passive consumerist approach to what news is.”
“When I read set of redundancy criteria that say that one of the most important features of a journalist’s portfolio is their ability to effectively store pictures, and to get pictures out of an electronic file and provide the metadata in the correct format, I find that very sad.
“There doesn’t seem to be any credit given to people who have built up a lot of expertise over sometimes quite a long period of time and know what they’re doing as journalists.
“I think we get rid of such people at our peril and the danger is that we could be left simply with people who are staying for a very short period of time, who don’t have that specialist knowledge and who are more expert in writing about burger bars than they are about sometimes quite complex issues.”
As part of the plans, 16 new roles will be created in Birmingham, Liverpool and North Wales – which would result in a net loss of two jobs.
In repsonse to Martin’s claims, Trinity Mirror said it was working closely with the NUJ and was committed to “strengthening our newsroom to better serve our audience on an ongoing basis”.
A spokesman said: “We believe we are better placed to do this from the community in which we serve so we are appointing a politics reporter who will primarily be based in North Wales and will continue to write about the Assembly and local government issues that matter to our readership.
“We’re constantly reviewing what our readers want to read and adapting our newsroom accordingly. There is no move away from hard news or politics but we are producing additional content that we know readers are also interested in about the communities around them, including leisure, lifestyle and people stories.
“The changes announced last month will see some roles going, but a number being created, resulting in a net impact loss of two jobs.
“It is vital for the future of the media, in Wales and elsewhere, that journalism and publishing adapts to the fast changing ways readers access and consume news and content.”