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Community joins campaign to stop cuts at Bristol Evening Post

18 April 2012

Journalists and members of the community have held a lively demonstration to protest against the loss of up to 20 jobs at the city's newspaper.

The event was organised by the Bristol branch of the NUJ. Paul Breedon, branch chair, said:

"The branch and chapel were really heartened by the support we received from non-journalists. It shows that people in the wider community have woken up to the extent of the cuts and the danger they pose to quality journalism and a quality service to readers. We will be building on this support during the consultation with management."

Northcliffe, the paper's owner, said last week that up to 20 jobs could go at the paper when the Post scraps its Saturday edition and becomes a five-day operation next month. Venue magazine will become only available online.

A statement released in response by the Bristol NUJ branch said:

"Last week's news about yet more redundancies at the Evening Post – and the end of Venue in print – has really made waves. At last many people – not just journalists – seem to realise that newsgathering in our city is approaching a crisis point.
"How can the city's only dedicated daily newspaper provide proper coverage when staffing is reduced by a further third, to fewer than 40 journalists? Six years ago there were close to 190 journalists on the Post, Western Daily Press and Observer.
"Companies such as Northcliffe are happy to take fat profit margins for their shareholders from Bristol when times were good – indeed, the Post is still making a profit. But when times get tough, the returns to shareholders continue while Bristol journalists lose their jobs, those left have to work even harder, and the wider community realises it is not going to get proper coverage.
"How can the Evening Post report fully on important issues such as about the debate over a city mayor, our transport system, the future of our two football clubs, our vibrant business and arts scenes?"

The most recently filed accounts for Bristol News & Media show operating profit of £1.5million in 2010 on turnover of £25.5m. The most recent (2011) accounts for parent group DMGT include the statement:

"Management seeks above-average growth in adjusted earnings per share to maximise returns for its owners."

DMGT is committed "to maintain dividend growth in real terms every year". Translated, that means shareholders come before journalists – and readers.

Tags: , bristol, northcliffe, newspapers, regional newspapers