Local Journalists Out On Strike As Newspaper Owners Plan Leaner Future

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXociFTvoVs&hl=en&fs=1]

Could the steel-band on the picket line have picked a more appropriate song, to underline the plight facing local newspaper journalists, than “Gimme Hope, Jo’anna”? This video shows NUJ members on a four-day strike outside Johnston Press’ flagship newsroom in Leeds, home of the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post, where workers are fighting 18 compulsory redundancies. The union claims it’s the biggest regional newspaper strike for 20 years, with 140 staff walking out and more of the same promised for Thursday if the company doesn’t back down.

Earlier this month, the company appointed KPMG to advise on further savings and how it could restructure its £465 million debt facility – with its share price dipping to a new low of 6p last Friday, the impetus for radical action has never been greater.

The video is a good symbol of where British newspapers are at right now from everyday journalists’ point of view: in absolute crisis. More cuts and restructures after the jump…

Financial Times: Having made 20 editorial redundancies, he Financial Times has offered its staff a three-day week or an extended annual leave period on 30 percent pay to cut down on costs.

Newsquest: Gannett-owned Newsquest is again cutting jobs at its York centre: having made around 20 redundancies last year, four more jobs are now to go, according to the NUJ, which will embolden NUJ activists who have already voted to hold industrial action of some sort each day until March 30.

Johnston Press: Following the upheaval that saw Scotsman editor Mike Gilson quit as editor to be replaced soon after by John McLellan, Sundayherald.com reports, citing sources, that production and picture desks are to be brought together resulting in about 10 redundancies.

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