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Unit 6 The Enterprise Centre
Kelvin Lane, Crawley,
RH10 9PE

4th August 2016

Newsquest South London cancels interviews

Jobs interviews have been cancelled for the second time in the last five months.

As part of an unofficial hiring freeze, Newsquest South London managers have cancelled a series of job interviews.

This has left the newsroom short of eight members of staff, according to the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).

Interviews for a senior reporter and a content editor role were arranged and then cancelled without explanation.

Tony Portelli, managing director, cancelled the interviews according to the NUJ.

Since March 2016, two content editors, a digital editor, one trainee, and four senior reporters have resigned and have yet to be replaced.

Every hiring decision must now be signed off by Newsquest chief executive Henry Faure Walker.

An NUJ chapel spokesperson said: "It is the not-knowing that takes its toll; our team, which works incredibly hard, is only just treading water.

"Newsquest's digital-first strategy is in tatters here. Reporters and content editors are at full stretch to produce quality newspapers, with little time left over to truly serve our readers online. Stagnating or falling web traffic has been masked by the use of picture galleries, which log one page view per image the reader sees.

"We work for a company that only implemented mandatory training for online reporting in the second half of last year.

"Journalists who love local news are paying the price for years of poor management by Newsquest.

"Managers who watched the opportunities of the internet sail past them have distracted the accountants not by innovation - in sales departments or in newsrooms - but by burdening their dedicated staff with feelings of helplessness and dread.

"Everyone is thinking, 'Who will leave next, and will I have to do their work as well?'"

Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said: "We are urging Newsquest to address the acute and harmful pressures they have put on the newsroom and our members.

"These constant and relentless cuts are making local journalism in South London unsustainable.

"Newsquest senior management have adopted a cavalier, bunker mentality and they must now take urgent action to improve the dire working conditions they have created."
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