Thursday, 15 September 2011

NUJ protests after quote axed from strike story

The NUJ is demanding a right of reply after a union quote was removed from a story on the Warrington Guardian website about a strike by its own journalists.

The Guardian covered the story about journalists on the Newsquest-owned paper taking 24-hour strike action over redundancies.

It quoted Chris Hughes, regional managing director for Newsquest’s north west division, who said: “Sadly, we are not immune from the effects of the current economic cycle.

“The local and regional press, like many other businesses, face extremely difficult decisions.

“Job losses are always the act of last resort. Unfortunately, to protect the long term interests of the newspapers we publish, we have to reduce our operating costs across all disciplines, including editorial.”

It had originally included a quote from NUJ organiser Lawrence Shaw claiming the company had failed to justify the redundancies and that young low-paid trainees were facing losing their jobs.

Shaw had also said: "Newsquest in Cheshire and Merseyside made £7 million profit last year. Before any job cuts are made, we believe they should open their books to show us the real financial situation as its stands."

His quotes were later cut from the story.

Shaw has written to the editor demanding an equal space right of reply in the paper and has also threatened to take the Guardian to the Press Complaints Commission.

He said: "The question to ask is if the Warrington Guardian, or any paper, was running a story on any other industrial dispute would it ignore the arguments and position of one side of the dispute? Would it not even contact one side of the dispute for a comment?"

He has put up the original story, with his quote, here.

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