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Union urges government intervention in Welsh media ‘crisis’

The National Union of Journalists has called for the Welsh Assembly to intervene in what it calls the “crisis” in Welsh media.

The union is urging the Assembly, which officially opened for its fifth term today, to establish a media and communications committee to scrutinise media developments in Wales at a time when it says the provision of quality national, regional and local news is being diminished.

The call comes after Trinity Mirror announced it would be withdrawing the North Wales Daily Post’s Welsh Affairs correspondent, who covers Assembly matters at the Senedd, pictured below, from Cardiff.

A number of other roles have also been proposed for redundancy at both the Post and former Local World titles in South Wales in recent months.

Senedd

The NUJ has warned national and local politics, law and order, education, business, health and the environment could go unreported if steps are not taken to address the issue.

It claims that the acquisition of the Local World titles by Trinity Mirror gives that company a “virtual monopoly of the nation’s daily newspapers.”

Trinity already owned the North Wales Daily Post, Western Mail and South Wales Echo, and has now added the Swansea-based South Wales Evening Post to its portfolio.

Members at the union’s selegate meeting, held in Southport in April, passed a motion, proposed by the union’s Cardiff and South East Wales branch and Welsh Executive Council, calling on the Assembly to establish a committee that would “monitor developments in the media industry and, with the input of experts, recommend solutions”.

Paul Scott, NUJ national executive member for Wales, said: “At a time of crisis for the media in Wales, it is vital that those elected to serve the interests of the Welsh people properly review, scrutinise and address the diminution of quality journalistic output.

“The democratic deficit created as a result of this decline is a matter of the utmost importance for politicians of all parties and we believe a media and communications committee could go a long way towards demonstrating that our decision makers fully appreciate the role the media plays in holding the powerful to account as well as putting the spotlight on, and giving a voice to, ordinary people.

“Access to quality journalism is a fundamental civic right and, though media organisations appear to be concentrating on short term measures and get-rich-quick gimmicks, it is the responsibility of the Welsh Assembly to assess and address concerns about the media in the long term.”

A Trinity Mirror spokeswoman said: “The Daily Post remains committed to covering Welsh politics at a local and national level. We believe we are better placed to do this from the community in which we serve.

“As a result we intend to appoint a politics reporter based in North Wales, who will continue to write about Assembly and local government issues that matter to our readership.”

6 comments

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  • June 7, 2016 at 8:26 pm
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    Yet more wingless words from the NUJ. On their watch, the Welsh press has been roughly decimated over the past decade or so. Other than issuing glossy statements, pocketing journalists’ cash and generally putting up a feeble fight—what did the NUJ actually do? Nothing. They are part of the problem. If such a committee is set up, the p***-poor performance of the NUJ ought to be high on the agenda.

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  • June 8, 2016 at 7:47 am
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    “The NUJ has warned national and local politics, law and order, education, business, health and the environment could go unreported if steps are not taken to address the issue.” Sorry, but what has any of this nonsense to do with witty pictures of pets in superhero costumes and top ten ice cream flavours? Come on, people, get your journalistic perspectives sorted out.

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  • June 8, 2016 at 8:35 am
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    The Trinity Mirror response is somewhat economical with the truth. The ‘politics reporter’ proposed is in fact ‘politics and transport reporter’. So it cannot be legitimately argued there is 100% commitment to covering politics in North Wales. Given its overwhelming dominance now in Wales, Trinity Mirror should recognise – or if it fails to do so – be required to recognise its public interest duties.

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  • June 8, 2016 at 9:40 am
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    Politics stories don’t pay the bills, that’s the reality.

    Few readers were interested when they were in print – they care even less online.

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  • June 8, 2016 at 10:26 am
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    Yet again the NUJ is charging onto the battlefield at the last minute but then realises it has left its ammunition behind. I was a member for 30 plus years and would have fared better putting my subs into a building society account – even at today’s miserly interest rates.

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  • June 8, 2016 at 11:09 am
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    That is not the point, if its not paper / papers of record and accountability you might as well just run ViralNova.com and cut the pretence you are after anything else aside from Big Numbers.

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