Guardian: Stop slagging off journalists

The NUJ mother of chapel at the Guardian’s regional sister title the Manchester Evening News has urged the paper to stop “constantly slagging off” newspaper journalists.

Judy Gordon’s comments come after Guardian digital director Emily Bell claimed that as many as five national newspapers could close in the years ahead, after Guardian columnist Jeff Jarvis said that journalists have been the architects of their own demise and after regular pronouncements on why newspapers are doomed by Guardian blogger Roy Greenslade.

Gordon writes in today’s Guardian media supplement:

Newspapers are battling against the odds by embracing new technology. Witness the work done at the Manchester Evening News (luckily for you, still making money for the Guardian) incorporating online, radio and local TV as well as a vigorous regional newspaper and hardworking, much-loved weeklies.

All this is done by journalists on declining salaries with drastically reduced staffing levels. We all do much more work, using varied technologies, with far fewer staff. We know times are harder, but the fact is people still want to hold a newspaper in their hands, flick backwards and forwards through the pages, on their travels, in the pub, in front of the TV – wherever. But we have also adapted to offer them that, and more, on our website, radio and TV.

What we don’t need is other journalists being complicit in the destruction of the newspaper industry. It’s bad enough reading that the Guardian editor thinks we are all doomed. We don’t need Jarvis pontificating every week that journalists are to blame for everything wrong with their business. Journalists are doing their bit and much, much more – perhaps Jarvis should turn his gimlet gaze on the bosses.

In my view Jarvis is bonkers if he thinks journalists are to blame for the structural and societal changes which have seen nearly every newspaper in the western world drop print sales and lose advertising revenue in recent years.

Bell, Greenslade et al’s pronouncements about the impending doom facing many of their colleagues might be a bit easier to take if they weren’t speaking from the uniquely privileged vantage point of being among the very few journalists who jobs are all but guaranteed.

Guardian News and Media does not have to make a profit so long as hard-working staff in Guardian Media Group’s other divisions, such as Emap and GMG Regionals, continue to do so. And Guardian journalists are unique among their colleagues in the national press as being almost completely insulated from the threat of compulsory redundancy.

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