Three journalists have been made redundant in cuts to its sports and arts coverage at a regional daily- with local football fans claiming the move may “threaten the very existence” of the newspaper.
Peter Martini, de facto sports editor and York City Knights rugby league writer at York daily The Press left the paper on Friday along with its York City Football Club Dave Flett.
Arts editor Charles Hutchinson, pictured, will also leave The Press this month after more than three decades with the paper.
Charles had previously had his role put at risk in 2017, but was saved from redundancy after York’s arts community launched a campaign to get the decision reversed.
Dave, who has been a journalist for 22 years and worked for The Press for 16 years, posted on Twitter on Friday: “Final shift done at The Press after 16 years as York City FC reporter. Been a privilege and met so many great people.
“Also wish my colleagues based at Walmgate (not a single bad egg among them) all the best for the future. Currently open to all offers of future employment too.”
Peter, a journalist since 1996, told local radio station Minster FM: “Doing this job, I’ve worked with some terrific journalists at The Press, and met great people in the York sporting community and the wider world of football and particularly rugby league. We have covered good and bad times at both York City Knights and York City FC.
“It’s great to see what’s been happening at the Knights in recent times and I feel I’ve made friends for life there. We wish both clubs every success in the future.
“I’ll be following them closely and still hope to be involved in one way or another.”
In response, York City’s official Twitter account posted: “Good luck for the future Dave and thanks for your coverage over the last 16 years. Hopefully, this does not signify the end of City match reports in The Press.”
Good luck for the future Dave and thanks for your coverage over the last 16 years. Hopefully, this does not signify the end of City match reports in the Press.
— York City FC (@YorkCityFC) June 28, 2019
York City FC supporters have told Minster FM they were “disappointed and concerned” by the redundancies.
Mike Brown, chairman of the York City Supporters’ Trust, said: “[Dave’s] reporting of matches, community initiatives and fundraising events have provided a vital link between the football club, supporters and the wider York community we serve. Indeed, it was the York Press that coordinated the original ‘Save City’ campaign and provided logistical support when we first formed the Supporters’ Trust in 2002.
“Ultimately, losing that vital content and readership may result in a downward spiral that threatens the very existence of the York Press altogether. It has been a real pleasure to work with Dave and we wish him all the best for the future.”
Gary Hall, of the Knights Supporters Society, added: “Thank you Pete for all your support especially in those dark times in 2002 when we were campaigning to keep rugby league alive in York.”
Charles has worked for The Press for more than 30 years, most of them in his current role.
His position was earmarked for redundancy in November 2017, but he decision was reversed after an outcry by local arts organisations.
A spokesman for Press owner Newsquest said: “We continue to look at ways of working more efficiently across our business. Following a review of the York business we have decided to progress with reducing the sport and arts departments.
“While these redundancies are regrettable, it means we can continue to invest in frontline reporters which are central to the continued success of our local news brands.”