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Newsquest North West accused of abandoning communities

10 December 2008

Newsquest has announced a raft of title closures and a major restructuring. The NUJ has accused the company of betraying its journalists in the North West and abandoning communities.

News of further changes were announced to staff yesterday. They came within just a couple of months of the last round of cuts in the region, during which journalists were told there were no plans for further closures.

NUJ members at the locations affected will meet to discuss how to respond to the proposals.

The company has said it will close a total of 10 weekly and two monthly titles and move the majority of work from its offices in Kendal to Blackburn and from Bury to Bolton.

Jenny Lennox, NUJ Assistant Organiser, said:

"Given that, just two months ago, Newsquest North West management told us that there were no plans for further closures, it's no wonder journalists feel betrayed.
"Just as one wave of redundancies is completed, managers are now looking to make further changes to editorial workforces to ensure they can continue to deliver big profits to Gannett.
"Local communities are being abandoned by Newsquest. The removal of almost all editorial staff from Bury to Bolton means that after 155 years the Bury Times will have virtually no editorial presence left in the town.
"It's simply not possible to believe that these decisions have been taken with the long-term future of the papers in mind. For example, if you're genuinely committed to quality local journalism rather than short-term profit targets, where is the logic of moving your sports editor more than 50 miles south from Kendal to Blackburn?
"There's no long-term strategy in any of these announcements. It's all about looking for quick-fix solutions to help shore up the Gannett share price. Management simply don't seem to care about how their decisions will impact on the relationship between the papers and the communities they serve."

Tags: , newsquest, newspapers, cuts, bury times, bury, bolton, kendal, blackburn, local newspapers, sports, quality journalism, gannett, shares