Tuesday, 14 July 2009

MPs: 'Link between cuts and falling quality'

The NUJ has welcomed the findings of a parliamentary investigation into the Scottish newspaper industry.
The ‘Crisis in the Scottish Press’ report has been produced by the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee. The MPs have expressed concerns about quality, job cuts and stress. Findings included:
Employers should recognise the links between making journalists redundant, falling quality and the drop in circulations and advertising.
Managements of the Scottish newspaper groups should show commitment to health and safety and act on increased stress levels which have been exposed in the NUJ health and safety surveys.
Local and national governments and the newspaper industry must work together to ensure a balance in public sector advertising between the internet and print.
Paul Holleran, NUJ Scottish Organiser, who gave evidence to the committe, said: “The Scottish Affairs Committee has in their conclusions and recommendations, successfully identified a number of issues of concern and are seeking action, which I warmly welcome.
“The employers say they are committed to quality but also say it will depend on what they can afford. I would suggest they cannot afford to allow a further deterioration in what they are producing or circulation and advertising will go down even further. They will then seek further job cuts and the downward spiral will continue.”
Allmediascotland reports that a shift of local authority job adverts from newspapers to a dedicated website run by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities has been recognised by MPs in the report as a threat to the viability of Scottish newspapers.
It says their concerns also extend to a possible move away of local authority public notices to the internet. The report noted that 32 Scottish local authorities had moved their job ads to the CoSLA website, with an estimated initial saving of £5 million. The committee also noted that local authority public notices might also be headed for the internet - saving an estimated £10 million - even though, for example, only 32 per cent of people in Glasgow have access to broadband.

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