As reported on HTFP earlier today, both the Nottingham Post and Leicester Mercury are restructuring their picture-gathering operation with greater use to be made of user-submitted photos and copyright-free images.
Now it has emerged that it is part of a wider reorganisation of photographic teams across the group, which is now part of Trinity Mirror.
According to an internal memo which has been seen by HTFP, the equivalent of 19.45 full-time photographic posts are at risk across the region, along with 17 newspaper sales roles.
Titles affected by the proposed photographic changes include the Essex Chronicle, Whitstable Times, Herne Bay Times, Canterbury Times, Faversham Times, Isle of Thanet Gazette, Dover Express, Folkestone Herald and Crawley News.
The National Union of Journalists is calling for the proposals to be ditched.
National organiser Laura Davison said: “These cuts are a kick in the teeth for committed photographers at Local World. They’ve stuck with the company through two changes of ownership in three years only to be told their skills are no longer needed within a few short months of Trinity Mirror’s takeover.
“It smacks of opportunistic budget cutting without a care for the quality of the content or the fact that local communities will be robbed of their photographers to record events such as Remembrance Sunday, sports days and news events. Do we really want the mourners at the local war memorial to be captured by selfies?
“This is an extremely short-sighted policy from a company which is attempting to drive-up digital consumption. Free photographs from readers cannot compensate for the work of professionals. Advertisers will be as unimpressed as the readers.
“These proposals need to be ditched.”
The NUJ has also claimed that in addition to the proposed photographic redundancies in Leicester and Nottingham, two photographer jobs will be lost at the Derby Telegraph, one at the Uttoxeter Advertiser and one at the Burton Mail.
According to the union, two new roles will be created covering all three papers, but the Mail will no longer have any dedicated photographers.
A spokeswoman for Local World said: “With more sources of copyright-free material becoming available and our journalists having technology that allows them to take photos and video, some centres are moving to models that gives them the flexibility to cope better with changing and varying demand.”
Trinity Mirror says the photographic plans are is not a result of the merger – but something Local World was already planning.