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Foreign Office in massive U-turn on World Service headline

June 22nd, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Funny, Job losses

The Foreign Office (FCO) has launched disciplinary action against a member of staff after a somewhat surprising headline appeared on its website today.

The announcement that the FCO has pledged an additional £2.2 million in funding to the World Service was titled: “Massive U-turn on BBC World Service funding”.

Obviously not the kind of language government departments normally clothe their massive U-turns in.

A spokesperson for the FCO said: “A web article with an incorrect and inappropriate title was up on the FCO website for 10 minutes this morning. That title absolutely did not represent the views of the FCO. This error has now been corrected and disciplinary procedures have been launched.”

Full Journalism.co.uk story on the World Service funding announcement at this link.

Image courtesy of Tim Montgomerie at Conservative Home.

 

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Newsquest South London: new four-day strike announced

June 20th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Business, Job losses

Journalists at Newsquest titles in South London will go on strike for four days next week, from Monday 27 to Thursday 30 June.

The announcement follows a two-day strike last week. Staff are in dispute with the publisher over plans for a reduction in editorial space, redundancies across all sections of editorial, a review of a two per cent pay rise and an office relocation.

NUJ mother of chapel Thais Portillo-Shrimpton said today that staff had not heard from management since last week’s strike.

NUJ negotiator Jenny Lennox said: “We’ve had a very successful two-day strike last week, and it is worth noting that a dozen journalists have joined the union since dispute began. This reflects the deep anger of journalists employed by Newsquest at their bosses’ determination to avoid consulting with staff on the future of their papers.”

At the end of May, union members Newsquest titles in the area, which covers Surrey, Sutton and Twickenham, voted almost unanimously for strike action, with 22 out of 23 returns of a ballot in favour.

Staff have also been working to rule since 15 April.

Earlier in May the company announced 12 job cuts at a series of titles in the area, including the loss of the sports and leisure department at one of the South London offices.

Staff are running a strike blog which can be found at this link.

Related content:

Enfield nine in unanimous vote for further strike action

NUJ contemns disastrous Johnston Press job cuts in Yorkshire

BBC journalists to begin strike ballot over job cuts

 

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Guardian: ‘This was not a redundancy announcement’

June 17th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Job losses, Newspapers

Predictably, speculation about potential job cuts at Guardian News and Media (GMG) has been rife since yesterday’s announcement that the company was seeking to make £25 million in savings over the next five years.

The Telegraph reported this morning that a cull could go as high as 175 staff, and both the Independent and Evening Standard reported certain job cuts.

A spokesperson for GMG flatly refuted the number in the Telegraph article and told Journalism.co.uk today that yesterday’s statement “was not a redundancy announcement”. He refused to rule out job cuts, however.

“Yesterday’s briefing was not a redundancy announcement. We shared with staff our current position and a strategy to transform the organisation, and said we would work with staff and unions to achieve it. Of course no media company can rule out redundancies in the current climate, but we will talk to staff about issues like that first.”

Yesterday’s statement from GMG confirmed that the company suffered operating losses of £33 million in the last financial year and announced its newspaper titles the Guardian and the Observer would be switching to a “digital-first” strategy.

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Strike dates announced at Newsquest South London

June 9th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Job losses

Journalists at titles within Newsquest South London have announced that their planned strike action will take place on Wednesday and Thursday next week (15 and 16 June). The strikes follow a dispute over redundancies, a reduction in editorial space, a review of a 2 per cent pay rise and an office relocation.

At the end of May Journalism.co.uk reported that members of the National Union of Journalists at Newsquest South London voted in favour of strike action, with 22 out of 23 returns of a ballot in favour.

Staff at newspapers in the area, which covers Surrey, Sutton and Twickenham, have been working to rule since 15 April.

NUJ head of publishing Barry Fitzpatrick said: “Our members’ overwhelming decision to take strike action in defence of jobs and quality was the inevitable result of a wrong-headed management policy. But it is not too late for the company to show some sense and sit down with us to discuss the future security of the papers which are so important to our members and their communities.”

Earlier last month the division announced 12 job cuts at a series of titles in the area, including the loss of the sports and leisure department at one of the South London offices.

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Slate: ‘I would have loved to piss on your shoes’, and other parting shots

June 6th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Job losses

Slate’s Jack Shafer has rounded up some of journalism’s finest parting shots, the words journalists have found over the years to vent their frustrations with the “quacking mallards” in the editors’ and publishers’ offices.

They include the delightful:

“Don’t worry about me; I’ll land on my feet. I don’t regret coming here, even though I’ve been laid off now. In fact, my only regret is that you haven’t come to visit the Beacon Journal. I would have loved to piss on your shoes.” — Mark Schleub, in a letter to Knight Ridder CEO Tony Ridder, April 2001.

And the no-nonsense:

“It’s been a rough few years here, mainly because of the jackasses in Chicago who own us. To them I say, with as much gusto as I can muster in an email, fuck you.” —Dan Neil, upon leaving the Los Angeles Times for the Wall Street Journal, February 2010.

Full post on Slate at this link.

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Guardian: BBC proposal to ‘pool’ journalists across Today, Newsnight and Panorama

The Guardian reports this morning that some journalists on BBC programmes including Newsnight, Panorama and Radio 4’s Today programme could be replaced by a “pooled system of journalists”.

According to the Guardian’s report the possible idea was outlined to staff on Tuesday by BBC News director Helen Boaden.

The change would affect the news programmes department within BBC News, which is separate from the main newsgathering operation providing stories for the TV and radio bulletins.

In a statement the BBC said it was “not going to get drawn into a running commentary”.

No decisions have been taken and therefore these claims remain speculation. Any decisions coming out of the process would be subject to approval by the BBC Trust.

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Norfolk blogger supports Archant journalists facing job cuts

April 21st, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Job losses, Newspapers

Food blogger and pie maker Brays Cottage Pork Pies has voiced support for Archant journalists facing job cuts, hosting a guest post from a former reporter.

Blogger “Sarah” describes local newspapers as “part of the warp and weft of a community ” and states Norfolk has some of the best in the Eastern Daily Press (EDP) and The Norwich Evening News.

She goes on to urge people to email Archant expressing their concerns about job losses.

The anonymous reporter highlights campaigns championed by Archant publications and the role of local newspapers within the community, in their contribution.

If public bodies are making cuts (aren’t they all?) who’s going to tell you about it and who’s going to give you a voice to shout about it?

Who’s going to tell you about crime, both major and minor, on your doorstep? Who’s going to tell you about events in your neighbourhood?

Who’s going to highlight the ordinary people who do extraordinary things to help charities and the community? Who’s going to tell you the quirky little stories that make you smile over your cornflakes?

The full blog post can be found here.

 

 

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Sunday Sport founder expected to relaunch paper

The founder of the Sunday Sport is believed to be buying back the title, which went into administration on 4 April.

David Sullivan, who is joint chairman of West Ham United, launched the Sunday Sport in 1986, following with the Daily Sport in 1991.

He sold the two titles in 2007, for £40 million and is now believed to be buying back the Sunday paper for less that £1 million.

A former Sunday Sport editor told Journalism.co.uk Sullivan’s team spent some of yesterday looking for new offices for the Manchester-based title, which is expected to relaunch on 8 May.

Administrators for the Sport titles, BDO, told Journalism.co.uk no deal has been completed and they are “still talking to interested parties”.

It is thought the Daily Sport is not part of the deal.

If no buyer is found for the daily, it will be the first national daily to shut since Today closed in 1995.

Sullivan bailed out Sports Media Group, which owned the titles, in 2009, with a £1.6 million loan, but did not offer more money to save the titles earlier this month when the papers shut with the loss of all 80 jobs, administrators said.

A relaunched Sport would see Sullivan look to win back readers, who have been welcomed by Richard Desmond’s title the Daily Star Sunday since the Sunday Sport’s closure.

A message on the paper’s masthead using the Sport’s typeface has been used by the Daily Star Sunday for the past two weeks.

National Union of Journalists negotiator Lawrence Shaw said he “would welcome any newspaper start up” but warned the sale could still leave freelancers owed large amounts of money.

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Debate: Will other reporters follow Tindle’s and strike over quality?

Journalists at Tindle newspapers in north London are striking over the declining quality of the nine newspapers written by just three news reporters.

They complain they cannot leave the office to cover court stories, council meetings and are delivering a poor product to readers.

They are saying “enough is enough” and downing tools for a full two weeks. Nine editorial staff will walk out from Tuesday.

Tindle has said it will aim to produce the Enfield papers during the strike. Father of the chapel and features editor of the north London papers Jonathan Lovett speculated that they would do this by asking staff from other regional centres to cover.

So are the striking Tindle nine bravely leading the way to stop “churnalism” and deliver a better quality product for readers or are they standing on a picket line for two weeks only to ask the impossible of a company which has been hit by declining sales and advertising?

And, of course, cuts and declining quality is not just happening at Tindle newspapers.

It’s not just Tindle’s arts pages that are cut back, reporters who are over worked and council meetings that are ignored.

The last three years have seen cuts in regional newspapers across the country.

Jobs have been lost, subs’ posts have disappeared, production has moved way beyond the area where the spellings of councillors’ names and villages are known, football reports have been written a long way from the pitch and change pages have been reduced.

So can the quality of regional newspapers be upheld by industrial action taken by the reporters who write them? We would like to know your opinions on this issue.

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Newsquest staff to vote on strike action over ‘subbing hub’

April 14th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Job losses, Local media, Newspapers

Nearly 80 Newsquest journalists are to vote on whether to take strike action in protest over plans to axe 14 subbing jobs in Darlington and York.

Newsquest plans to create a subbing hub in Bradford, which is 70 miles from Darlington, where the production of the weekly papers will take place.

The sub-editing of the dailies, the Northern Echo in Darlington and the Press in York, will remain at the existing locations.

Four jobs will be created in Bradford as subbing operations move during the next six months.

Members of the National Union of Journalists at Darlington, Durham, Northallerton, Bishop Auckland and York will take part in the ballot, which closes on 3 May.

“Newsquest needs to convince us, their staff and in all probability themselves, that this plan can work but management has shied away from that debate. At some point Newsquest will have to stop the cuts and start taking all their staff with them – in all senses of the words,” NUJ northern and midlands organiser Chris Morley said in a statement.

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