With the Halifax Courier soon to go weekly – with an online version and a regularly updated I Pad app replacing the daily paper – the House of Commons recently discussed the threat to local journalism posed by Johnston Press cuts, that will affect over 170 local newspapers.
The NUJ reports that the Halifax Courier is proposing to cut 11.6 editorial jobs – about a third of the current total. Clearly this will mean there aren’t enough journalists to report fully on local events and issues.
Ashley Highfield, the new chief executive of Johnston Press who announced the cuts, has said he expects the provision of editorial content to be split fifty-fifty between journalists and “community contributors” by 2020. At the moment, just 10 per cent of Johnston Press editorial content is created by readers.
“That this House notes with sadness the decision by Johnston Press to move many long-established local newspapers from a daily publication to a weekly publication; condemns this unnecessary move and the implications it will have for the jobs of many journalists, printers, newspaper sellers and newspaper deliveries; praises the role local daily newspapers like the Halifax Courier and other titles in towns like Kettering, Northampton, Peterborough and Scarborough play in local democracy and in reporting the news on a daily basis; further notes the knock-on effect this will have on the local economies of the towns affected; urges Johnston Press to protect existing jobs at the newspaper titles affected and ensure that there are no compulsory job losses; further urges them to consult fully with the National Union of Journalists about their proposals; and hopes that local newspapers will continue to play an important role in the life of local communities for many years to come.”
So far, Craig Whitaker MP has not signed the EDM. If you want to ask him to add his support, you can email him.