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Photographer leaves regional press after 35 years ahead of restructure

Jane ColtmanAn award-winning photographer has left the regional press after 35 years ahead of a newsroom restructure at the newspapers she served.

Jane Coltman, left, has announced her departure from JPIMedia, where she worked across five titles in the North-East of England – the Northumberland Gazette, Morpeth Herald, News Post Leader, News Guardian and Berwick Advertiser.

Jane began her career in 1984 on the Alnwick Advertiser, where she worked until it was incorporated into the Gazette in 1992 following its purchase by Northeast Press.

In 2015, she was given an expanded role by JPIMedia forerunner Johnston Press – serving as multi media image manager for five titles across Northumberland and Tyneside.

Jane told HTFP: “I have loved the last 35 years as a press photographer, what a fantastic job it is. We meet people at the best of times and the worst of times, they laugh with us, sometimes they cry with us – and they trust us to tell their story.

“It’s been a privilege to be so involved with the local community. The people really are the best part of the job. It’s great to hear them say ‘here’s Jane from the Gazette’ or ‘that’s the woman from the paper’ as I appear with my camera.

“I’ve also worked with many great colleagues over the years – and like most photographers helped a few new reporters on their first assignments then taken delight as they flourished and moved on.

“There have been many changes over the years which I have always tried to embrace and among the awards I have won I was particularly proud to win the Johnston Press Best Use of Video award in 2016 where it was said ‘my determination and skill to use video across a wide range of topics is a blueprint for how JP titles should operate across the UK’.

“But all good things come to an end and as the papers face another newsroom restructure I have decided to leave and enter the world of freelance photography.

“Of course I’m sad to leave the industry I love but I’m looking forward to ventures new – and I’ll never be parted from my camera.”

In April, JPIMedia revealed it was set to trial a new newsroom structure which will see its journalists move away from the print production process and concentrate on digital work.

The regional publisher announced a three-month pilot scheme in the North-East of England involving the weekly titles Jane worked for, as well as dailies the Sunderland Echo, Hartlepool Mail and Shields Gazette, with a view to a potential company-wide rollout.

5 comments

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  • June 13, 2019 at 11:46 am
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    In some ways a sad sign of the times but at least Jane had a very good innings and dedicated career at her newspaper.

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  • June 13, 2019 at 1:52 pm
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    All good wishes to Jane on her new life outside the confines of the regional press.
    Talented people have nothing to fear by ‘going solo’ and in my experience there’s a better quality of life,no internal politics and a very good living to be earned freelancing.
    Good luck for the future Jane

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  • June 13, 2019 at 6:45 pm
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    Good luck, the stress-free freelance life is great, you won’t look back.

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  • June 13, 2019 at 9:18 pm
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    It’s always been a pleasure to bump into Jane from time to time and I’m sure life on the outside will be far more rewarding. I think this now leaves JPI without a professional toggy in the whole of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham and a large chunk of North Yorkshire.

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  • June 14, 2019 at 9:03 am
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    Whilst wishing Jane the very best it is worth noting that freelancing is NOT stress free, a freelance needs at least a handful of good clients to earn an even modest salary and I would dearly prefer to be a staffer again!

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