Regional publishers have hit out at union claims over photographic budgets at their newspapers.
The claim comes after the NUJ launched a campaign aimed at getting amateur photographers to understand the value of photographs and videos they provide to news organisations.
But JP has flatly denied a union claim that its budget “amounts to less than a daily cup of coffee from your local takeaway”.
A spokesman said: “Our overall photographic budget is considerably more than the NUJ is citing. We do of course use freelance photographic on our weekly titles and we manage the budget accordingly.
“We receive a large number of unsolicited photographs from readers and organisations who are naturally very keen to see their work publicised for free and they like to see their names credited in our titles.
“Our industry continues to adapt and to evolve and the prevalence of mobile phones and digital photography has dramatically changed the way photographs are used in traditional news platforms, social media and other digital platforms.
“We continue to invest in our editorial and commercial teams, not least announcing the creation of 31 new roles last month to bolster our digital presence.”
In a statement on its campaign, the NUJ also claimed Newsquest was “actively seeking to reduce its use of professional photographers and turning to camera clubs and readers for the use of their free images”, while further adding Trinity Mirror “has followed the trend; it has shed many of its staff photographers”.
The union said: “The NUJ believes that this is wrong. People submitting photographs for publication should be getting properly paid for their work.”
Trinity Mirror declined to comment on the NUJ’s statement.
However, Newsquest editorial development director Toby Granville said: “Due to advancements in technology and smartphones, we employ less photographers than we did ten years ago – our reporters are now able to take high quality photographs and video themselves.
“However, we still retain a photographer at most of our titles and Newsquest editors also have a significant freelance budget at their disposal. As has been the case for many years, we also accept submissions from the public.
“More recently, we have also launched a community engagement initiative called the Camera Club – which tens of thousands of keen amateur photographers across the country have signed up to – and we award prizes and hold exhibitions in recognition of their contributions to our titles.
“The driver for the camera clubs is about giving our readers the chance to participate, share and engage, it’s not about cutting photo budgets – as the NUJ wrongfully claims.”