One month into an indefinite strike at South Yorkshire Newspapers – Johnston Press has made outspoken editor Jim Oldfield redundant.
Oldfield defied bosses by reporting the industrial dispute on his own front page two weeks’ running.
Jon Slattery reports on his blog that Oldfield was given his marching orders in a brown envelope couriered to his home.
Slattery also has quotes from Oldfield, who has been sacked despite achieving circulation and awards success.
Oldfield described his redundancy letter as “a fine thank-you from a company for whom I worked for seven-plus years, for a maximum salary of £25,000 and from whom I claimed but a handful of expenses in those seven years”.
Oldfield is now throwing his talents behind a campaign to get the government phone-hacking inquiry also to investigate “the abominable oligopoly in the regional Press, in which five proprietors own some 2/3 of all the UK’s local papers”.
Oldfield says: “It is arguable that the local press is the real cornerstone of free speech in this country, especially given the nationals’ known political bias and in the case of the tabloids, concentration on ‘celeb’ news.
“However, I have witnessed at Johnston Press and at least one other of these companies, a monolithic attitude of ‘might is right’ in their cavalier dealings with a free press and indeed their own staff, which marks them out to be every bit as ruthless and poisonous as some of the worst aspects of News International.”