Four Labour Nottinghamshire MPs have written to Johnston Press boss Ashley Highfield seeking assurances that a number of regional titles in the area have a future after the publisher deemed them “sub-core”.
John Mann, MP for Bassetlaw, Alan Meale, MP for Mansfied, Graham Allen MP for Nottingham North and Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero, have signed the letter to Highfield.
According to De Piero, the letter was sent because they want an assurance “that these newspapers will continue to have an important role to play in the company going forward because we believe that they are key assets to our local communities”.
De Piero, who has also written to John Whittingdale, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport about the issue, added: “We urge him to ensure that staffing levels at the newspapers are maintained to a level that does not cause unacceptable stress to the employees who work there and which enabled the newspapers to continue their good work informing local people, championing local causes and scrutinising local democracy.”
Johnston Press has identified a number of papers in Nottingham which it has deemed “sub-core”, including Eastwood Extra, Alfreton Chad, Eastwood Advertiser, Hucknall Dispatch and the Retford Trader and Guardian.
In total, Johnston Press has labelled 59 titles it considers to be “sub-core” after revealing it is looking to sell some of its brands. It has labelled other titles as “uber”importance, “primary” and “core.”
The move follows an appeal by the Nottingham NUJ branch to Nottinghamshire MPs to support an Early Day Motion regarding the plight of local and regional titles.
Diana Peasey, the chair of the Nottingham branch of the NUJ said, members were extremely concerned about the future of newspaper in the region, after witnessing a number of cuts over the years.
She said: “There is only so much a journalist can do without falling prey to stress and ill health. Sadly, and perhaps inevitably, some are walking away from the industry.”