Bristol journalists to protest tonight over job losses at the Post

The Bristol branch of the NUJ will hold a protest against redundancies at the Bristol Post later today.

It comes after last week’s announcement by owners Northcliffe that the up to 20 jobs could go at the paper when the Post scraps its Saturday edition and becomes a five-day operation next month.

It was also announced that Northcliffe’s Venue magazine was becoming a digital-only product.

The Bristol chapel of the NUJ said that people had realised that newsgathering in the city was ‘approaching a crisis point’– and its demonstration will coincide with an exhibition celebrating the paper’s 80th anniversary.

‘How can the city’s only dedicated daily newspaper provide proper coverage when staffing is reduced by a further third, to fewer than 40 journalists? Six years ago there were close to 190 journalists on the Post, Western Daily Press and Observer.”

The demonstration takes place outside the Galleries shopping centre (the Fairfax Street entrance, next to WH Smith) at 6.15pm for 6.30pm as the Galleries hosts an exhibition celebrating 80 years of the Evening Post.

In a release the Bristol branch said:

We don’t want to mar the celebration – but we do want to point out the irony of Northcliffe celebrating the proud history of the Post when

The Post was founded in 1932 by the Bristol community in defiance at Northcliffe’s attempt to win a Bristol monopoly for its title, the Bristol World

  • Northcliffe has been trying to sell Bristol and its other regional centres for years.
  • The Bristol branch of the NUJ believes it’s time to make clear that important papers like the Post are not safe in Northcliffe’s hands.

Companies like Northcliffe were happy to take fat profit margins for their shareholders from Bristol when times were good – indeed, the Post is still making a profit*.

But when times get tough, the returns to shareholders continue – while Bristol journalists lose their jobs, those left have to work even harder, and the wider community realises it is not going to get proper coverage.

How can the Evening Post report fully on important issues like the debate over a city mayor, our transport system, the future of our two football clubs, our vibrant business and arts scenes?

Why should Viscount Rothermere continue to benefit from the sweat of Bristol journalists if he’s not prepared to stand by them, and the community they serve, when times are tough?

After all, he can afford to: he’s in the top 100 of the Sunday Times Rich List, and his family fortune jumped by £122m in 2010 to £730m.

And though he lives in a mock Palladian stately home in Wiltshire, he appears to be officially domiciled in France, to the benefit of his tax bill. In a further twist, he ensures that ultimate ownership of The Post and his Daily Mail empire is vested in Bermuda – no doubt with similar benefits to the company accounts.

Bristol NUJ believes our city deserves better.

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