Journalists have reported their own newspaper to the press watchdog over its coverage of strike action they are set to undertake this week.
National Union of Journalists members at the Cumberland News have taken the unprecedented action in submitting a complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation, on the basis that the paper only reported comments from owner Newsquest and not the union or the strikers.
Editorial staff at the News will walk out for one day on Thursday, along with union colleagues at the Carlisle News & Star, Workington Times & Star and Whitehaven News, over what they have termed “poor pay”.
The NUJ say staff at the News were “given no right of redress” by the company when the article was published on Friday.
IPSO has confirmed to HTFP that the complaint has been received, but declined to comment further due to its own confidentiality procedures.
Chris Frost, chair of the NUJ ethics council, said: “This is the first time that the NUJ has complained to IPSO. We are doing so on behalf of the journalists who work for the Cumberland News who are taking strike action on Thursday.
“Management clearly do not support the action, but they should at least put both sides in the newspaper. This is basic journalism. By not doing so Newsquest has shown its contempt for both the journalists and journalism itself.”
Newsquest has declined to comment on the issue.
Discussing the strike, a spokesman for the company previously said: “We are disappointed that the NUJ has taken this stance especially as Newsquest has in fact invested in a new state of the art system for the editorial department and actually increased the number of reporters than under the previous owners.
“Our primary focus is to ensure that these titles have a sustainable future and despite this strike action they will continue to be published in full.”