Wednesday, 20 April 2011

A good day to bury news: Strikers stage mock funeral of titles in editorial quality dispute

A mock funeral for the newspapers at the centre of a dispute about editorial quality took place in the centre of Enfield today.

Nine NUJ members on strike at North London & Herts Newspapers organised the funeral to highlight staff shortages which they claim are harming the quality of their newspapers and could lead to them going out of business.

Led by NUJ FoC Jonathan Lovett, dressed as a priest, the journalists and their supporters carried a coffin with the names of some of their newspaper titles, which include the Enfield Advertiser, Enfield Gazette, Haringey Advertiser and Barnet Press, written on the side.

Lovett urged members of the public to write to the newspapers' owner, Sir Ray Tindle, to back their call for more staff. He said the journalists would end their action if they were given one more reporter and guarantees that staff would be replaced.

Lovett added: "This feels like the last stand for quality journalism in the borough. We've got just three reporters putting out nine newspapers. The strike was a last option."

NUJ head of publishing Barry Fitzpatrick told "mourners" the strike was "proof that journalists care". He said: "This is the frontline in a battle going on throughout the regional press."

Tindle Newspapers say the North London newspapers are losing money and being subsidised by the rest of the group. The strikers were warned in letters on the eve of the action that their newspapers may face reorganisation and there could be redundancies.

Pic: NUJ FoC Jonathan Lovett, dressed as a priest, leads the mock funeral through Enfield. (Jon Slattery)

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