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Sports journalism jobs at risk in regional publisher’s cuts, union claims

nujlogoSports journalism roles roles are under threat in a restructure affecting a regional daily and four weekly sister titles, union chiefs have claimed.

The National Union of Journalists says three jobs are set to go in a restructure at the Bradford Telegraph & Argus, Keighley News, Wharfdale Observer, Ilkley Gazette and Craven Herald.

According to the NUJ, staff at the Newsquest-owned titles have been told that the weeklies sports editor role will be made redundant, as well as a sports writer and an editor’s PA.

The union says the proposed new structure would leave a sports editor, sports sub-editor, Bradford Bulls/Bradford City reporter and sports apprentice to serve the five titles.

Chris Morley, NUJ Northern and Midlands senior organiser, said the sports staff put at risk “often worked over hours and typically 10-hour days” and described the plan as “a shoddy deal for Newsquest employees and the communities they are trying to provide a professional news service for”.

Linking the proposals to cuts announced at Newsquest’s Darlington centre last month, Chris added: “The union has consistently warned Newsquest that it risked failing in its duty of care by making cuts with no apparent regard to the burden they placed on those remaining.

“The response at Darlington to serious local concerns at new cuts heaped on many that had gone before – as well as the arbitrary axe on critical freelance production help – was totally inadequate.

“These new redundancies at Bradford now also risk an unhealthy workplace with staff being worked into the ground. This is inexcusable when the parent company is enjoying a multi million pound windfall from the currency changes.”

A Newsquest spokesman said: “We’re making modest changes to our editorial structure in Bradford. As usual the NUJ wants to exaggerate the scale and impact of these changes for its own PR purposes.

“The facts are that two members of our sports team are at risk of redundancy. Whilst this is regrettable, we will continue to provide great sports coverage across our portfolio there.”

6 comments

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  • August 10, 2018 at 6:30 pm
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    It’s worrying – and very cynical – that the anonymous Newsquest spokesman believes the NUJ should seek to highlight issues of huge concern among the company’s journalists for “its own PR purposes” . Stress and unsustainable burdens are to be found throughout the company’s editorial newsrooms. We know because our members tell us. The Newsquest nothing-to-see-here attitude is a dereliction of duty and a cover for increasingly risky cuts.
    It was a shame the story did not have room for the context the NUJ put for the latest redundancies.The missing line was: “The news comes the day after Newsquest’s US parent group, Gannett, reported its second quarter results. The company revealed it had benefited from a $13.2m windfall from changes in the value of the pound in the first six months of this year. It also said it was giving shareholders an $18.1m dividend payout for the second quarter.”

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  • August 10, 2018 at 8:29 pm
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    Looking at the way the pound has plummeted in the last couple of weeks, it’s likely the 13 million will be handed back in the second half of the year.

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  • August 12, 2018 at 11:22 am
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    Unfortunately there are many unpaid volunteers happy to provide biased copy direct from their own sport — much of which goes straight into print unsubbed and unchecked. Which is why most sports coverage in local publications is so mediocre.

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  • August 13, 2018 at 2:40 pm
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    Akhenaten is so right. The sports reports in my weekly, including a senior football team, are all submitted. They are hopelessly biased and the writing is usually (with rare exceptions ) dreadful. None of it appears to be subbed- if it is the sub should be subbed.

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  • August 13, 2018 at 9:03 pm
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    So, according to Newsquest, two people being made redundant represent “modest changes” and yet its the NUJ who are engaging in a PR stunt?? Ask those who will have to cover the work those two reporters did if losing them represent “modest changes” when the stress and workload builds up to the point of them becoming ill.
    Typical shameful behaviour from Newsquest. Don’t give a damn about their staff. Either the ones they treat as numbers to just strike off when shareholders demand or the ones they keep on for shockingly low wages.

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  • August 15, 2018 at 10:38 am
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    That comment from newsquest is outrageous and shows the company isn’t taking the severe stress imposed on its journalists by lack of staff and resources seriously. Think that may be good evidence in a few employment tribunals in coming years. The union has warned the company but the company chooses to dismiss the warnings. Workplace stress is a grave matter, quite literally.

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