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Tindle journalists strike against churnalism

April 18, 2011

Staff at NLH News will protest against severe cuts

As a journalism student desperately seeking a career at any reputable publication, my determination and confidence in my own abilities have taken numerous knocks throughout the course of my journo quest.

We are told on a daily basis that each of us has chosen to pursue a career in an area of journalism that is currently flailing on its last legs. Many believe that churnalism has ruined what is left of the dependable regionals and many of the nationals have begun to follow suit.

I have, however, been lucky enough during my short career as a journalism intern, to work at a number of publications striving to maintain a sense of quality and originality that have made newspapers the valued media source that they (hopefully) still are today.

One such paper was the Enfield Advertiser, part of NLH News, a group of north London-based newspapers owned by Sir Ray Tindle. Sadly, severe budget cuts and staff redundancies have left the papers in a state of desperation, with just three reporters attempting to generate enough content to fill nine publications.

Rather than take the easy route and resort to the evils of churnalism as so many dwindling regionals (and nationals, let’s not forget) have done, journalists at NLH News have chosen to take a stand against Sir Tindle, the self-proclaimed saviour of local news, and his corrosive cut-backs.

From 8.30am tomorrow morning (April 19) the determined journos, led by National Union of Journalists‘ chapel father Jonathan Lovett, will go out on a two-week long strike, the first in Tindle newspaper history.

In a statement made on their website, Mr Lovett explained that their decision to take such drastic action was by no means an easy one, but that each journalist felt that they were left with no other options as the management refused to agree to a suitable compromise.

He said: “This is not of our asking. Strike action should always be a last resort and we certainly did not want this fight. We will not be paid for any of the days we will be going out and we will be losing a considerable amount of money by doing so.

“We certainly did everything we could to avoid this showdown. For nearly a year now we have been in negotiations with management over the situation here in Enfield.

“Management said they would give us nothing… zero… zilch… nada. Nothing after nearly a year of negotiations and with our reporting team on the verge of meltdown thanks to all those late nights and weekends working hard to provide the necessary mass of words to fill nine newspapers.

“Quantity not quality seems to be the concern of our owner, Sir Ray Tindle, and frankly we believe our readers deserve better.”

As a relative newbie to the journalism world it makes me feel a sense of pride that there are still journalists out there with enough integrity to want to preserve the true value of their publication. The fact that such action is now a necessary measure scares me to death, but hey, that’s the name of the game I suppose.

You can keep up-to-date with the progress of the journalists’ strike via their blog or their Twitter.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kim inam permalink
    April 19, 2011 12:18 am

    Thank you Charlie, we only wish our company would allow us to create positions for journalism students. Hope you may be able to join us on the picket line.

  2. Stuart permalink
    April 20, 2011 9:18 pm

    If reports elsewhere are to be believed, this group of newspapers is losing something in the region of £200,000 per year. Have the journalists involved in this strike action considered the commercial reality of their situation? Have they made any useful suggestions as to how this can be turned around? Will having one, two, three or more reporters increase sales, readers and, more importantly, advertising revenue to cover not only the existing losses but the increased wage bill too?
    I would have thought one of the main roles of the editor was to ensure the newspapers were produced to the best of the abilities of his staff in the time allotted. Perhaps if little more creativity was employed on his part, the reporters wouldn’t be facing “all those late nights and weekends working hard to provide the necessary mass of words to fill nine newspapers”.
    Much as Sir Ray Tindle has to cut the cloth according to what his newspaper group can afford, a similar approach to what the team at NLH News can produce could be adopted by the editor.

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