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Howard and Byrne Solicitors, York - Criminal Defence Specialists

Council Leader Raises Fears Over York Press Sub-Editing Move

Minster FM News Generic

3:28pm 2nd December 2013

York Council leader James Alexander has raised his fears over the impact of a proposal to move some sub-editing jobs at the York Press to South Wales.

It's understood the proposal is for some news sub-editor roles in York, Darlington and Bradford to be moved to Newport in Wales but that reporters, photographers and feature editors would be unaffected.

The National Union of Journalists' says up to five posts could be lost in York once the new subbing hub is launched in February.

Mark Stead and Tony Kelly, York’s NUJ joint Fathers of the Chapel, said:

“We are totally outraged at this development and opposed to any more redundancies. For the past six years our members have borne the brunt of a hack and slash policy of sackings, frequent bouts of non-replacement of staff, and crippling pay freezes, which, combined with the high rise in the cost of living, effectively means almost annual pay cuts.

“Management say the new system will improve editorial operation within the entire Newsquest business. How can this be when local newspapers, whose daily existence and lifeblood hinges on the closest of links with their respective communities, are to be produced hundreds of miles away, indeed in another country?

“It seems ridiculous that three local newspapers in York, Bradford and Darlington are again being systematically dismantled, downgraded and ultimately destroyed to make yet more profit for a parent company,  which has shown little regard for, or faith in, hundreds of hard-working and ever more flexible staff.”

In a letter to the Chairman and Chief Executive of Newsquest, Paul Davidson, city council leader James Alexander, together with his counterparts in Darlington and Bradford said:

We are writing as the leaders of City of York, Darlington Borough and City of Bradford Metropolitan District Councils to express our concern at reports that sub-editing of local newspapers will be removed from regional offices and moved to a central hub in Newport, Wales.

Local media plays a huge part in the democratic life of our towns and cities. The relationship between local authority and local press can be interesting at times but it is significant to our residents, in allowing debate in a city. It provides an essential mechanism for ensuring elected representatives are held to account by the public.

It is our belief that the strength of a local press, much like a Council, is founded on its connection with the communities it serves. Critical in this relationship is a clear understanding of local context. Without this, it is hard to imagine how an editorial line could accurately represent the areas which are of most importance to residents.

Against the backdrop of previous job-losses and reductions at regional offices, we are concerned about the loss of jobs and viability of local newspapers in  our cities if this trend continues and would urge you to reconsider this latest decision. We would like to see sub-editing remain in our region.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr. James Alexander
Leader of City of York Council

Cllr. David Green Leader of Bradford MBC

Cllr. Bill Dixon
Leader of Darlington BC

CC: David Coates - Regional Managing Director, Newsquest (North East) 

Minster FM is waiting to hear back from the York Press' parent company Newsquest.

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