Peter Barron

Peter Barron

Local newspaper group Newsquest’s controversial long distance subbing operation has come under fire from a respected newspaper commentator today.

In a blistering attack in his regular column at trade website Htfp, Steve Dyson takes apart the latest issue of the news group’s Durham Times publication.

In the week of one of the major events for the city, the annual Miners’ Gala, he points out that the paper’s headlines seemingly failed to notice that famous names such as Labour leadership contenders Jeremy Corbyn and Andy Burnham as well as flamboyant artist Grayson Perry were in attendance.

But he was at pains not to heap blame or criticism for the poor paper on editor Peter Barron and instead aimed his fire at the news group’s policy of moving production to South Wales.

“Even if Peter, or one of his trusty lieutenants, had the time to write quality headlines for each and every weekly, I’m pretty sure that responsibility’s been taken away from them by Newsquest’s controversial switch of production to a subbing hub 270 miles away in South Wales.

“I hope Peter and his troops in Darlington and Durham know these production criticisms are not aimed at those who fill the Times and its above-mentioned sister titles with quality journalism.

“But I believe they’re being let down by the mediocrity of long-distance, central production hubs with a ‘that will do’ attitude, a lack of experience or a shortage of time to do better.”

It’s not the first time Dyson has criticised the organisation for the poor quality of the work carried out at the subbing unit.

Back in March he referred to it as a ‘hub of horrors’ prompting the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) to step up its campaign to ‘save local journalism’.

Barron said this morning that he had no further comment to add.