York Press to axe all its staff photographers in latest shock cutbacks

3 Sep 2015 @ 8.29 pm
| News

All the staff photographers at the York Press are being made redundant in the latest round of cuts at the newspaper.

It is part of a wider cull of photographers by the paper’s owners, Newsquest, which will see jobs also going at the Bradford Telegraph and Argus and the Northern Echo in Darlington.

By doing so, Newsquest is “making its news an amateur pursuit”, a union spokesperson said.

The four Press photographers, with many decades of service to the newspaper between them, will leave the paper on September 30.

Nigel Holland, Frank Dwyer, David Harrison and Anthony Chappel-Ross were called in and told the news by Bradford-based editor Perry Austin-Clarke on Thursday (September 2).

A source from the newspaper told YorkMix:

Standards have dropped. He got told a lot of things. He didn’t get it all his own way.

Between them, the four photographers have won multiple awards. They have worked for the newspaper for many years – Nigel Holland joined 30 years ago and David Harrison has worked there for 19 years.

The photographers were told that the Press might be able to rehire them as freelances for a couple of days a week each.

And one of them could be taken on in a new role being created at the paper, that of picture co-ordinator.

The idea is that reporters will take more pictures, while the paper can use more readers’ photographers, known as user-generated content.

Chris Morley, NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser, said:

Newsquest is clearly stripping away its support for quality, professional staff photography.

This leaves this business reliant on the public or submitted pictures from vested interests or freelance photographers, often those it has made redundant.

The NUJ has warned this is detrimental to the journalism being produced because independence of content creation is compromised.

Reporters cannot, and will not, take up the slack as they do not have the time and have not had the training or support or equipment.

This represents Newsquest completing the first part of making its news an amateur pursuit.

Axe swings again

Shrinking… the York Press on Walmgate. Photograph: Richard McDougall
Shrinking… the York Press on Walmgate. Photograph: Richard McDougall

This is just the latest in a series of cutbacks to the city’s newspaper.

Seven journalists left the paper in a previous round of redundancies this year.

The paper is now overseen by Telegraph And Argus editor Perry Austin-Clarke in Bradford after Steve Hughes left as the final dedicated York editor in January.

Sports production on the paper moved to Bradford too, as the editorial operations were merged. Previously much of the sub-editing and page production had been shipped out to Newport in South Wales.

The paper, previously known as the Yorkshire Evening Press, has been serving York for 133 years.