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Swindon Advertiser staff show disgust as Newsquest advertises redundant post

Striking members at the Swindon Advertiser in January  -  © nuj

14 March 2018

Journalists at the Swindon Advertiser have expressed their disgust at the creation of a new newsdesk role at the title, just two months after their news editor was made redundant.

Toby Granville, editorial director for Newsquest, sent out a staff-wide email advertising the role of two new audience content editors (ACEs) at the Wiltshire daily.

He said he was looking for candidates who needed a long list of qualities including being reactive, creative and full of ideas; methodical, organised multi-taskers; passionate about detail; and thrive on deadlines. The advertisement followed the resignation of the Advertiser’s one remaining member of staff on the newsdesk that same morning.

Reporters, who earlier this year walked out on strike for two days as part of a dispute over pay and working conditions, were left confused and angry at the job advert, having been told last December that the title no longer required a news editor. The post was made redundant along with three content editors and the Wiltshire group’s web and social media editor.

The position of assistant news editor was not put up for redundancy during the consultation, which saw all five roles deemed redundant during meetings with senior management some of which lasted less than 10 minutes.

A spokesman for the Swindon chapel of the NUJ said:

“Members were understandably confused and angry by the job advert and requested a meeting with the newly-appointed editor/head of content that day to discuss the vacancies.

“Unfortunately, no light was shed on how this role was any different to the former role of news editor, other than that the positions would be more digitally focussed. This came as a surprise, as the newspaper’s website and its social media channels form a significant part of the newsdesk’s responsibilities.

“Staff were then told that the roles would be split so that one ACE would work the early and the other the late shift, sparking further confusion as that was exactly the set-up that was operating up until December 29 under the news editor and assistant news editor.

“The chapel questions the soundness of a plan by Newsquest whereby experienced and valued members of staff are replaced with less-experienced colleagues on significantly less money in new roles that mimic the former positions, and fears deeply for the future of the title and the industry as a whole.”

The advert:
Audience & Content Editor x2
– Swindon Advertiser
We are looking for two creative newsroom leaders who are passionate about news, both in print and digital.
You will need to be able to direct our team of excellent reporters and be happy to help coach our trainees.
You will understand what makes a compelling and engaging story and how to build a great newslist for print and online, write a great headline for all platforms and know what it takes to turn a press release into something readers actually want to share.
You do not need production experience but you do need to be willing to learn about and get involved in the production of top quality local content for online and for print.
This is an ideal chance for a senior/chief reporter who wants to take the next step, or a content editor/content manager who wants to put their news skills to greater use.
You will: 

  • Drive the stories
  • Be reactive, creative, and full of ideas
  • Be a methodical, organised multi-tasker
  • Be passionate about detail
  • Thrive on deadlines
  • Understand the how and why of search and social
  • Know who’s reading our stories, where and why
  • Be able to inspire and enthuse a team
  • Create the right mix of content, for the right time of day and platform
  • Know exactly what makes a story and how to tell it for different platforms, from print to Twitter Moments.
  • Have a good understanding of media law

Sounds like you…? Then please send your application by Friday, March 23rd.

Tags: , newsquest, toby granville, local news matters, local newspapers, swindon advertiser, swindon nuj chapel, advertisement, newsdesk