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Bristol branch of NUJ to protest over Evening Post cuts

The Bristol branch of the National Union of Journalists is due to hold a peaceful demonstration later today following news that 20 jobs were at risk with publication of the Evening Post’s Saturday edition to be stopped from next month.

The protest will take place outside an exhibition marking 80 years of the Northcliffe Media’s title from 6.15pm outside the Galleries in Bristol. The union branch says it has received much support from the local community.

Last week NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said the changes to the Evening Post were a “shock announcement”.

We call on the paper’s management to take steps to avoid job losses and enter into meaningful consultation with staff and their union representatives.

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Poor investment and low morale highlighted in NUJ letter to Johnston Press shareholders

April 28th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Local media, Newspapers

The National Union of Journalists has called on Johnston Press shareholders to encourage management to work with the union.

In an open letter, published on its website, being presented to the publisher’s shareholder’s at an AGM today, the union criticises cuts at Johnston Press.

The Johnston Press annual report boasts about ‘local content’, ‘teams of local experts’ and proclaims that ‘Content is King’. Yet behind the corporate jargon, the company has reduced staff in its editorial teams dramatically in the last 12 months, with so-called ‘back-office functions’ – which include newspaper content creators – being moved sometimes miles away from the communities they serve.

The much-hailed new content management system is ‘operational’ across the business. This is purely down to the hard work of journalists. The company’s failure to invest in new hardware made the shaky implementation of the system exceedingly difficult. Similar systems have been introduced successfully at other newspaper groups who recognised this was a key investment that couldn’t be brought in on the cheap.

Over 230 editorial staff have been made redundant; significantly, 85 per cent volunteered to leave, a testament to the poor morale amongst staff. Those made compulsory redundant were often treated badly – in some cases individuals were given only a few hours to make a choice between a huge pay cut and imposed relocation or being forced to leave. All of this has taken place at a company that claims to belong to ‘Investors in People’.

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Community Newswire service to close due to funding cuts

March 30th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Media releases, PR

Community Newswire, a news service which works in partnership with the Press Association to assist community groups in getting stories in the media, will close tomorrow due to a cut in funding.

The Cabinet Office has withdrawn funding from the group following October’s government spending review.

The service, which is run by the Media Trust, encourages community groups to contact the organisation and stories are then written up by PA journalists and sent via a PA feed to newsrooms.

In a statement on its website, the Media Trust said it is seeking new funding and hopes to reinstate the service.

hatip: HoldtheFrontPage

 

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BBC announces special swansong for Russian-language broadcasts

March 24th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Broadcasting, Editors' pick

As the BBC puts an end to its 65 years of traditional radio broadcasting in Russian, it is hosting a series of special programmes this week looking back at its journalism over the years.

This will include speaking to key members of the Russian media to share their views on the broadcaster, including the owner of the Independent, Alexander Lebedev and leading Russian journalists and writers.

The final programme will take place on Saturday (26 March) with the BBC Russian live weekend programme, Pyatiy Etazh (Fifth Floor).

The BBC started regular Russian-language broadcasts to the Soviet Union on 24 March 1946. Throughout the years, the BBC radio brought independent news and analysis to Russian-speaking audiences. In its special programming, BBC Russian looks again at the key stories it has covered – reporting the cold war and the perestroika, the attempted putsch of August 1991 and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the two Chechen wars and Beslan, the Russia-Georgia conflict and everything else that has mattered to its audiences in the region.

The BBC’s Russian output will continue on bbcrussian.com, where two radio programmes will be broadcast every Monday to Friday and one will be broadcast on Saturdays and Sundays.

Russian is one of seven radio programming languages which were proposed for closure as part of cuts to the World Service, along with Azeri, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish for Cuba, Turkish, Vietnamese and Ukrainian, and Russian.

Read more about the BBC’s special Russian programming here…

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Independent: BBC savings have to come from somewhere

March 23rd, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Comment, Editors' pick, Jobs

An opinion piece in today’s Independent recognises that the BBC has some tough decisions to make when it comes to finding ways to save money, but says that the corporation shouldn’t be immune to budget cuts.

No one could dispute that such reporting [of global news] is at the very core of the BBC’s public-service broadcasting remit. But savings are going to have to come from somewhere, and the BBC should be no more immune from the need to prioritise than any other organisation.

The BBC is currently undergoing the Delivering Quality First review to try to find ways of coping with no increase in the licence fee for the next five years.

Several ideas are on the table, including cutting programming on BBC local radio stations between the breakfast shows and drivetime shows when the stations would broadcast Radio 5 Live. The NUJ has warned this could see 700 jobs axed. The Guardian is reporting today that overnight programming could be scrapped as another cost saving measure.

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#jpod: NUJ stages protest against BBC World Service cutbacks

January 27th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Broadcasting, Job losses, Journalism, Podcast

The BBC broke the news this week that around 650 jobs at the World Service are to be cut by 2014, as the broadcaster seeks to make savings of 16 per cent following a cut in government funding.

The news followed the announcement of cuts in other areas of the BBC, such as BBC Monitoring, which announced it was to cut more than 50 jobs, and BBC Online, which is set to lose 360.

Emotions were running high at the World Service yesterday following the latest announcement. The changes proposed, which include the closure of five full language services and radio programming in seven languages, will also mean the loss of 30 million of the broadcaster’s listeners.

After the proposed changes were outlined in a press conference at the BBC World Service, members of the National Union of Journalists staged a protest demonstrating against the cuts to staff and services.

The union’s general secretary Jeremy Dear said the campaign would not rest until the cuts are overturned.

Listen below for Journalism.co.uk’s #jpod of the day’s events:

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Jon Slattery: ‘You can slice the salami only so many times,’ warns ex-Argus man

Former Brighton Argus deputy editor Frank le Duc guest posts on Jon Slattery’s blog about the recent strikes at the Argus and other Newsquest titles, and about the challenges facing regional publishers from new local competition.

The difficulty for companies like Newsquest is that their profits are not coming from a resurgence in advertising revenues but a ruthless cutting of costs.

Newsquest has used a salami-slicing technique which has its limitations. You can slice the salami only so many times before there’s no meat left.

Full post at this link…

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Details of BBC funding cuts leaked ahead of spending review

A formal announcement is expected to be made later today in George Osbourne’s comprehensive spending review outlining the changes the government has made to BBC funding. But details of the plans have already been widely reported: the BBC itself reports that the broadcaster is set to have its licence fee frozen for the next six years, will have to take on the cost of its World Service and fund the Welsh language channel S4C.

Last month Journalism.co.uk reported that the World Service, which is currently funded by the Foreign Office, was understood to be facing ‘significant cuts’ as part of the review.

News that the corporation would have to pay for the World Service was met with concern yesterday from the National Union of Journalists, which claimed Macedonian, Serbian, Vietnamese and Moldovan language services could close, or be “drastically cut” as a result.

The union also said it also fears job losses at the BBC World Service newsroom in London, the Turkish TV service, the Central Asian and Bengali services, the Spanish American service and the Arabic service. Job cuts could also impact on up to 350 jobs at the BBC Monitoring Service in Caversham, the union added. In a release from the NUJ, general secretary Jeremy Dear said:

The World Service is a vital source of quality journalism; people all over the world rely on the BBC to tell them the truth in times of crisis. If the Government slashes these essential services they will land a blow on objective news reporting and undermine Britain’s international reputation.

According to a report from the Telegraph the BBC has also “extracted a commitment from the BBC to spend less on its website”.

For more information on how news organisations will be covering the spending review today, see this post from Journalism.co.uk.

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Martin Moore: News organisations missed an opportunity in Chile

October 20th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Editors' pick, Journalism

As predicted, the debate on the media coverage of the chile miners’ rescue continues this week. Yesterday, Media Standards Trust director Martin Moore expressed his disappointment at what he saw as a missed opportunity for news organisations to change the way they do foreign news.

At a time when most news outlets are having to cut costs, this would have been a prime opportunity for them to look at “doing foreign reporting on the cheap”, he said. But instead we heard that the BBC, for example, had spent more than £100,000 on its coverage and will now have to make cuts in the budgets for covering other events.

This was also, for the most part, conservative journalism that hugged close to audience expectations and demand. Much of the mainstream coverage wouldn’t have looked out of place a couple of decades ago. There were close knit professional teams (in the BBC’s case 26 people strong), doing much talking to camera, with frequent two-ways updating the audience.

Where were the local reporters? Where were the voices of the Chilean people? Where were the collaborations with other news organisations and with NGOs? Where was the creative use of all the content that was being streamed from the mine and elsewhere? The result? News organisations have less money to spend on stuff that needs more explanation.

See Moore’s full post here…

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Covering the cuts: how the media is reacting to the spending review

October 20th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Online Journalism, Politics

First of all, a gauntlet, laid down by Steve Schifferes, Professor of Financial Journalism at City University London. Says Schifferes:

News coverage of the spending review and Budget has been too focused on presenting the government’s viewpoint that large and rapid reductions in public spending are both inevitable and desirable.

This example of group think has been exacerbated by the lack of an effective opposition, with Labour hobbled by its long-drawn out leadership campaign. The coverage of this spending review will be a test for the media as well as the government, in showing whether they can cut through the rhetoric and the confusing welter of figures to come up with the real story of the cuts and their effects on ordinary people.

So how are the big online news sites in the UK handling the cuts’ coverage?

Going live

BBC News Online editor Steve Herrmann says the site’s main focus will be on live coverage with two video streams: a special Andrew Neill programme and BBC Parliament.

We’ll be aiming to reflect the latest of these live entries on other parts of the site too, including the front page, to give a sense of how the detail of the story is unfolding – a technique we developed and first used for our live election coverage earlier this year. Beyond that we’ll be summarising the key elements of the story with graphics to show the extent of the cuts to various areas, and integrating our correspondents’ expert analysis throughout, all brought together on a Special Report page at www.bbc.co.uk/spendingreview

Channel 4 News will be streaming the statement from Chancellor George Osborne live on its website and offering immediate reactions from its experts via their on-site blogs. But the site is also planning a series of infographics that will be used during the speech to better explain what the cuts mean for the public.

Skynews.com will also carry a livestream of Osborne’s speech.  Shortly after there will be an interactive guide to the cuts, showing how much each department’s spending will be cut over the next four years and highlighting key spending changes by government department.

The Telegraph has a comprehensive liveblog of minute-by-minute news relating to the cuts. What’s great about this liveblog is it’s also linking out to other news coverage, as well as Telegraph.co.uk coverage elsewhere, including a DIY guide for UK households wanting to introduce their own money-saving measures.

Interactive games and putting the public in the picture

The BBC has a simple but effective video wall of short clips from members of the public explaining what they would save and cut.

Top of the graphics is the Guardian’s colourful chart of UK public spending since 1948, where you can see today’s spending as a percentage of GDP.

The BBC, Guardian and Channel 4 have all produced some interactive games allowing you to pick and choose what you would cut and see the impact that this would have on overall savings:

BBC

The Guardian

Channel 4 News

How are you covering the cuts? Let us know in the comments below.

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