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Union calls for ‘short sharp’ government inquiry

Newsquest-logoThe National Union of Journalists (NUJ) is calling for a ‘short sharp government inquiry into the local press’ after predicting what it describes as a ‘massacre’ of jobs at Newsquest in areas including the North East and Yorkshire.

The move comes as Gannett, Newsquest’s parent company in the USA, held its AGM, which included the rubber-stamping of a decision to spin off its publishing arm from its broadcast and digital operations.

The NUJ believes that at Darlington’s Northern Echo, nine weekly and daily production journalists and a graphic designer will be at risk of redundancy. It says, two chief subs jobs will be retained at Darlington, on the Echo and Stockton & Darlington Times. Four production subs’ jobs will be transferred to Bradford. As we reported first thing this morning, the editor of the Stockton & Darlington Times has already announced his departure.

The union says that in York, those at risk of redundancy are the Gazette & Herald’s editor and deputy editor, its internet editor, digital communications editor, newsroom assistant and deputy sports editor. Jobs to be transferred to Bradford are the chief sub, night production editor, features editor and communities editor.

In Bradford, it claims the editor of Craven Herald, the editor of the Keighley News, editor of the Ilkley Gazette/Wharfedale Observer are at risk of redundancy as are: one job on multimedia content features/supplements, one commercial features writer, one features writer, one deputy sports editor and one graphic artist. Five jobs will be created at Bradford.

The NUJ also released this bizarre video which it claims shows Gannett president and chief executive officer Gracia Martore and her executives miming Everything is Awesome, the theme tune of The Lego Movie.

NUJ national organiser, Laura Davison, said: “It’s Gannett which is living in a dream if they think everything is awesome at Newsquest. NUJ members are asking Newsquest readers to back our Local News Matters campaign for a short sharp government enquiry into the local press to look at alternatives. Gannett may not care about sustaining quality local journalism but NUJ members who actually do the work, do.”

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