Local paper staff strike over pay and workloads

and workloads. The Newsquest-owned paper was hit by


redundancies late last year, with five jobs going in Swindon, including that of NUJ Swindon father of chapel Bruno Clements, and two at Trowbridge. Swindon Advertiser journalists have had

only two pay rises in the past nine years. Colleagues from Oxford, Wiltshire and

further afield visited the strikers to show their solidarity. Robert Buckland, Conservative MP for Swindon South, dropped by for an update along with Jim Grant, leader of the Labour group on Swindon council, who pledged his support and agreed the journalists were getting a raw deal. The picket line also won support from Stan Pajak, Liberal Democrat group leader, and Labour councillor Jim Robbins. Paul Wilenius, who worked on the Advertiser

before becoming a political journalist on the BBC’s Today programme, came along to show support. Tim Lezard, the union’s national executive

council member for the region, praised the Swindon Advertiser journalists and added: “I’ve worked in journalism for 30 years and, where I live, there used to be seven reporters in the local paper office. Now there isn’t an

office – it’s a car park. It’s heart-breaking to see local communities let down by editors. There’s life in local journalism while there are people willing to fight for it.” Bruno, who was the Advertiser’s social media and web editor, said: “House prices and rents in Swindon are rising fast, but journalists on the Advertiser have seen their wages stagnate. “We started pay talks in 2016 but, at every

meeting, we are told Newsquest has no money when we know the latest operating profits were £4 million.”

Strike in Swindon, page 8 “ DARLINGTON BRANCH TO BE REFORMED ” T A

he union’s Darlington branch is to be revived, leading to hopes that it will be the third functioning NUJ

branch in the north east along with Newcastle and Sunderland, South Shields and Hartlepool.

Darlington members agreed in principle to reform the branch, which has been dormant for years. There are about 60 members in the area, working in print, broadcasting, PR and freelancing. There is also a journalism

school at Darlington College. Chris Morley, NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser, told the meeting: “I think we achieved a good deal – not least proving that solidarity in the north east is alive and kicking.”

Chapel rises again at the Independent

n NUJ union chapel at The Independent has been re-established. Members say they intend to have a constructive relationship with management while representing the views and concerns of staff. The chapel said: “We have re-established The Independent’s NUJ chapel to

facilitate discussions between management and journalists and hope we can build a mutually beneficial structure to find solutions to any issues raised. “We love working at The Independent and, in this ever-changing media

landscape, we would like to positively contribute to shaping the workplace. We will shortly be sending all NUJ members an anonymous survey and hope to use its findings as the basis for discussions with management.”


ournalists at the Swindon Advertiser staged a two-day strike at the beginning of the year in a protest over pay

in brief...

RECORD VIEWS FOR FT ‘PRESIDENTS’ SCOOP The Financial Times story exposing a men-only charity dinner at which women hostesses were allegedly sexually harassed by guests was viewed more than a million times. Reporter Madison Marriage went undercover as a hostess at a Presidents Club fundraiser. The paper led with the story, which was free to read on its paywalled website.

There’s life in local journalism while there are people willing to fight for it

DEPUTY TO BE NEXT OBSERVER EDITOR Paul Webster is to be the new editor of the Observer. He has been the paper’s deputy editor for 20 years. He will replace John Mulholland, who becomes editor of Guardian US next month. Webster has also been the Guardian’s foreign and home editor.

RUDDICK MOVES TO TIMES BUSINESS DESK Graham Ruddick has become an assistant business editor at The Times. He moved from the Guardian where he was media editor. Before he became media editor last year, he was a business reporter at the Guardian. Ruddick was also deputy business editor of the Daily Telegraph.

LIFE TIME GONG FOR EX ‘SCOT’ EDITOR The former editor of The Northern Scot, Mike Collins, won the Barron Trophy at the annual Highlands & Islands Press Ball and Media Awards. The award recognises a lifetime of achievement in journalism in the Highlands & Islands. He stood down as editor of the Scot at the end of last year after 10 years in the role.

MAIL APOLOGISES FOR STURGEON STORY The Scottish Daily Mail has apologised to first minister Nicola Sturgeon after it claimed she had ‘decreed’ that the Union Jack should no longer be flown from public buildings on the Queen’s birthday. She posted the Mail’s apology on Twitter, saying: “The Daily Mail has admitted that its ridiculous story … was utterly false and issued a full apology.”

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