Raymonds, one of the country's biggest regional news agencies, has gone into voluntary liquidation and ceased trading, adding to the crisis over the lack of coverage of courts by the media.
Raymonds which is based in Derby, with a branch office in Lincoln, specialises in covering Crown Court, general news and sport across the East Midlands for the national and local press as well as broadcasters.
All six journalists employed by the agency have been made redundant and a letter has gone out to creditors saying a creditors' meeting will be held on November 1.
News agencies have long complained about the poor rates being paid for copy and pictures by national newspapers which have cut their freelance budgets and commissions. Some agencies claim national rates are lower than they were 20 years ago and say its common to wait six months for payment.
Built up by Klaus Jacoby, John Twells and Neil Hallam, Raymonds once had a network of offices based in Chesterfield, Ipswich, Norwich, Nottingham and Stoke-on-Trent as well as those in Derby and Lincoln. It was the largest regional news agency in the country.
Raymonds started in the 1930s and at one time employed 25 journalists and gained the financial backing of free newspaper publisher Lionel Pickering in the late 1980s.
Journalists who have worked for Raymonds include ITV News editor-in-chief David Mannion and his former ITN colleague, foreign correspondent Terry Lloyd who was killed in 2003 while covering the invasion of Iraq.
In January this year another regional agency, Kent News and Pictures, started by former Evening Standard journalist Chris Eades in Maidstone in 1993, ceased trading. Around 10 editorial staff lost their jobs.
The worrying question facing the media and the law is if news agencies cannot make money covering the courts and newspapers have too few reporters to send to them, how is justice going to be seen to be done?
I worked for Raymonds in the 1980s at Eastern News, its Lincoln office.
Pic: Lincoln Crown Court, one of the courts covered by Raymonds.
I am a freelance journalist based in the UK and was deputy editor of Press Gazette, the journalists' magazine, from 1993 until 2006. I want to give an independent view on media matters.
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