Friday 19 December 2008

Map of misery shows journalists' job cuts and newspaper office closures continue to grow

The NUJ has produced a Google map showing the alarming scale of journalists' job losses and newspaper office closures across the UK and Ireland. The list of job losses and posts left vacant is continuing to grow.
Redundancies at The Argus, in Brighton, saw Ruth Addicott who edited the Woman section at the Newsquest-owned paper leave yesterday after four-and-a-half years on the title. She joined the paper from Press Gazette, where she was magazines editor. Her departure follows a review of editorial departments which has seen a number of experienced staff leave. She intends to go freelance.
Roy Greenslade on his MediaGuardian blog slams Newsquest today and says it had "provided a master class in how not to carry out the painful task of cost-cutting." He also claims the company "is involved in a orgy of short-term panic measures that are bound to reduce the quality and quantity of its print and online content."
The NUJ has estimated that at least 500 regional jobs have been axed or left vacant since June. The union is supporting a campaign to save the office of a local paper from closure. Archant has announced plans to close its offices in Exmouth and Sidmouth, relocating journalists on the Exmouth Journal and Sidmouth Herald to Exeter.
Members of the local community in Exmouth are campaigning for the decision to be reversed. NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said: “Quality local papers play a crucial role in our communities and are enormously valued by their readers – that’s clear from the way people have rallied behind the campaign to keep the Exmouth Journal in Exmouth. I would urge Archant to reconsider its plans, which can only damage the relationship between the paper and its readers.”
HoldtheFrontPage reported yesterday that six jobs are set to go and the editors of two weeklies forced to compete for the same job at Newsquest's Wiltshire operation. The publisher has announced it is merging the newsrooms of the Wiltshire Times and the Wiltshire Gazette and Herald. Wiltshire Times editor Neville Smith was handed a redundancy notice on Monday - less than six months after he took up the post. He must now compete for his job against his counterpart from the Gazette and Herald, with ten posts across the two titles being reduced to four in the proposed new structure, HTFP said.

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