Newsgathering in Calderdale is set to become patchy. Without any consultation with staff at Calderdale’s local papers, or their readers, Johnston Press, the owner of all Calderdale’s local newspapers, is proposing to:
- close the offices of the area’s three local papers (Hebden Bridge Times, Todmorden News and Brighouse Echo)
- redeploy staff to the Halifax Courier
- turn the Halifax Courier from a daily to a weekly paper, plus a daily updated online version
- impose at least nine compulsory editorial staff redundancies at the Halifax Courier, although no advertising staff jobs are at risk
But Barry Fitzpatrick, NUJ deputy general secretary says, “I hope that [Johnston Press] isn’t rushing into an ill-thought-out strategy because it is being put under pressure by the banks.”
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “The NUJ is now looking to meet Ashley Highfield at the earliest possible opportunity.We are not against looking at innovative solutions to changes in the newspaper industry, but the lack of consultation with staff and the union is not the way to go about it.We will robustly fight any compulsory redundancies.”
Johnston Press staff in the Halifax Courier NUJ Chapel are due to meet the Midland and Northern NUJ organiser Chris Morley tomorrow (Wednesday 18th April).
Readers and reporters demonstrate against cuts to Bristol Evening Post
In Bristol, readers and reporters are demonstrating today (Tuesday 17th April) against cuts by Northcliffe, the owner of the Bristol Evening Post. 20 jobs could go when the Bristol Evening Post scraps its Saturday edition and goes down to a five editions a week. Bristol NUJ Branch says, “…many people – not just journalists – seem to realise that newsgathering in our city is approaching a crisis point.
“How can the city’s only dedicated daily newspaper provide proper coverage when staffing is reduced by a further third, to fewer than 40 journalists? Six years ago there were close to 190 journalists on the Post, Western Daily Press and Observer.