Winning for you at work


Forgotten Password?
  1. Home
  2. News
  3. Welsh democracy put under threat by Reach job cuts, says culture and media committee

Welsh democracy put under threat by Reach job cuts, says culture and media committee

10 August 2020

Reach newspaper group, which has announced 580 company-wide redundancies, has been told its plans are “not in the interests of Wales and Welsh democracy” by a Welsh parliament committee.

Following an evidence session by the Senedd’s Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee with Reach’s Alan Edmunds, chief operating officer, Paul Rowland, editor-in-chief of Media Wales, Pamela Morton, NUJ Wales national organiser, and Martin Shipton, chair of the Reach NUJ group chapel, Helen Mary Jones MS, its chair, wrote to Jim Mullen, Reach’s chief executive officer, saying: 

“Members of the Senedd have long been concerned that Reach’s cost-cutting, consolidating approach to adapting to the new world of news consumption has had a detrimental impact on the coverage of Welsh life. The most recent set of proposals seem to accelerate this trend.”

She said the Reach cuts will make it even more difficult for the people of Wales to access accurate and relevant news. Her letter added:

“Following the evidence session with Alan and Paul, Members were not reassured that the people of Wales will not see a reduction in Welsh content, in quality and volume, as a result of these proposals. We appreciate that the pandemic has brought enormous challenges to a sector that was already struggling. However, we would urge you to reconsider how you respond to those challenges.”

The committee had already given the two executives a roasting at the session, saying Wales was already served poorly by the newspaper group, particularly for local news. They said 20-21 Welsh jobs were due to go. The letter said:

“Given that Wales has fewer media outlets than other areas of the UK to lose in the first place, we are concerned that a reduction in the number of journalists operating in Wales will result in the dilution of Welsh content, making it even more difficult for the people of Wales to access accurate and relevant news and information.
“We are also concerned that Reach’s business model is focused on digital content and the impact this will have on the coverage of Welsh issues. The global shift from physical to digital news consumption has clearly revolutionised the sector. Members of the Senedd have long been concerned that Reach’s cost-cutting, consolidating approach to adapting to the new world of news consumption has had a detrimental impact on the coverage of Welsh life. The most recent set of proposals seem to accelerate this trend.
“Following the evidence session with Alan and Paul, Members were not reassured that the people of Wales will not see a reduction in Welsh content, in quality and volume, as a result of these proposals. We appreciate that the pandemic has brought enormous challenges to a sector that was already struggling. However, we would urge you to reconsider how you respond to those challenges. The pandemic has accelerated change for a number of businesses but we believe that long-term business decisions should be made when we are in a post-Covid situation, rather than being made in the midst of crisis. There is a risk that making permanent and major decisions now could have a more severe impact than would be the case if such decisions were made later down the line when we have a clearer understanding of the impact of the pandemic on the business.
“We are concerned that the proposals being put forward are not in the interests of Wales and Welsh democracy. As we heard from Martin Shipton and Pamela Morton from the National Union of Journalists on 5 August, ‘Welsh democracy is served by having a thriving media sector’ and the ‘constant chipping away at journalists and the number of journalists employed is very debilitating and is not good for Welsh democracy.’”

Tags: , wales, Culture Welsh Language and Communications Committee, parliament wales, senedd, reach, cuts, redundancies, democracy, helen mary jones, jim mullen, Alan Edmunds, Paul Rowland, welsh exective council