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Strikes at local newspaper

Selby Times

8:22am 3rd August 2011

A picket line in protest at the owner of their paper.

Another 18 jobs to go from a local newspaper, the Selby Times.

Now journalist are on strike against their managment, Johnson Press ltd.

They're introducing cuts, changes and closures at their local papers, but they are fighting back.

Strikers at South Yorkshire Newspapers are celebrating after their self-published newsletters scooped the Johnston Press papers they work for.

In Doncaster the strikers splashed news of innovative plans from the town's elected Mayor, Peter Davies, to secure a bylaw banning spitting in the town centre - a story completely missed by the Doncaster Free Press.

The Free Press also missed a crash on the runway at Doncaster airport - a story the strikers' newsletter was able to run with a picture despite the fact there are no snappers on strike.

The newsletter - News of the Don - also boasted exclusive news of job cuts at a local engineering company and an exclusive interview with former Doncaster Rovers star Sean McDaid, whose career was recently cut short by injury.

Over in Selby the News of the Ouse hit the streets this morning with a story about yet more disruption coming to the town's beleaguered road network and the outcry from businesses at being offered just £3 in compensation following loss of business during a recent 14 week bridge closure - pity the Selby Times didn't!

The strikers' newsletter also carried exclusives on moves to appoint the historic town's first ever town crier and the launch of a campaign to secure Selby its first cinema in 40 years.

The Mexborough newsletter also hit the streets with stories the JP owned South Yorkshire Times missed, including plans for Mexborough's first ever continental market, news about a consultation on a controversial waste plant and the cancellation of a local music festival.

One striker said:

"I think the quality of this weeks' newsletters should give SYN pause for though as they show our commitment to our readers and our communities and to quality journalism.

"That we've managed to give the 'official' papers such a thrashing over the real news this week just goes to show the power of creative journalism.

"The newsletters are being well received by the pubic in all three towns - loads of people have told us they're a much better read than the JP titles."

Former Selby MP John Grogan has come out in support of striking reporters at the Selby Times.

Journalists on the Johnson Press-owned paper - along with colleagues at the Doncaster Free Press, Epworth Bells and South Yorkshire Times - are currently on indefinite strike in a move to save jobs, prevent office closures and improve intolerable working conditions.

The Goole Courier office has already been closed, with the workload being transferred to Selby, where reporters fear their building could be the next to face the JP axe, with work being transferred to Doncaster.

Mr Grogan said:

"I'm dismayed at the actions of Johnston Press.

"When I was an MP, they wrote and spoke to me many times about how committed they were to local papers. For a profitable company to indulge in the vandalism of our local media in Yorkshire is deeply worrying.

"One of the strengths of Goole and Selby has been the competitive local newspaper market. Local offices with eyes and ears on the ground are the basis for this ,and I hope JP will think again."

More than 400 people have signed a petition calling on JP to reconsider its plans.

Hundreds of people are expected to take part in a rally in support of striking reporters at the Selby Times on Saturday.

You can add your name at the Selby Times picket line every weekday morning and make a contribution to our fighting fund, or e-mail the following to make your feelings known:

JP chief executive John Fry (Click here), SYN managing director John Bills (john.bills@jpress.co.uk) or SYN editor in chief Graeme Huston (editorial@doncastertoday.co.uk).

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