Huge cull of photographer posts at Local World
Photographers under threat - © Mark Thomas
8 February 2016
A huge number of photographer posts have been put at risk on titles formerly owned by Local World.
The jobs of all photographic staff in Essex and Kent are set to go and the Leicester Mercury and Nottingham Post have also be targeted. The newspapers, which were taken over by Trinity Mirror, intend to rely on freelance and readers' contributions and pictures taken by reporters.
At the Leicester Mercury, all six photographers' jobs are at risk. The proposal is to have a picture editor plus one full-time and one part-time photographer.
According to Hold the Front Page, at the Nottingham Post, the five staff photographers will be reduced to one full-time content curator and two part-time photographers. Mike Sassi, the Post's publisher, said reporters would be expected to take pictures.
Two will go from the Derby Telegraph, one from the Uttoxeter Advertiser and one from the Burton Mail. Two jobs will be created. The proposal means the daily Burton newspaper will have no photographer.
Titles affected in Kent include the Whitstable Times, Herne Bay Times, Canterbury Times, Faversham Times, Isle of Thanet Gazette, Dover Express, Folkestone Herald and Ashford Herald. Trinity Mirror is looking to reduce the numbers from four photographers to zero.
The whole of the photographic staff at the Essex Chronicle and Chelmsford and other local titles are at risk. Titles in East Surrey and Sussex have also been targeted, but the NUJ has not seen the full details.
Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said:
"These cuts are a kick in the teeth for committed photographers at Local World. They’ve stuck with the company through two changes of ownership in three years only to be told their skills are no longer needed within a few short months of Trinity Mirror’s takeover.
"It smacks of opportunistic budget cutting without a care for the quality of the content or the fact that local communities will be robbed of their photographers to record events such as Remembrance Sunday, sports days and news events. Do we really want the mourners at the local war memorial to be captured by selfies?
"This is an extremely short-sighted policy from a company which is attempting to drive-up digital consumption. Free photographs from readers cannot compensate for the work of professionals. Advertisers will be as unimpressed as the readers.
"These proposals need to be ditched."
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