Redundancies at MNA total 69

The Express and Star, Wolverhampton, and the Shropshire Star have completed job cuts, with 69 staff taking voluntary redundancy.

On the Express and Star, 39 redundancies were made, including 14 in editorial. The paper was looking to make 50 redundancies, but management said it didn't need to make them all, as some could be made through natural wastage.

FoC John Corser said: "We are glad we won't have to go through a compulsory redundancy programme, but we have been warned it is subject to continuing monitoring of the financial situation."

At the Shropshire Star, 30 staff are leaving, six in editorial. The total loss of staff amounts to around 5 per cent of the workforce at publisher Midland News Association, which announced the redundancies due to poor trading conditions.

Campaign for sex law change

A campaign launched by The Press, York, for a law change to get child kidnappers put on the Sex Offenders' Register, is being considered by the Home Office.

The paper received a letter from Home Office minister Vernon Coaker, confirming officials are "looking at this issue in detail". Home Secretary John Reid also agreed to look at the paper's dossier of evidence with a view to making a decision about bringing in a new stranger abduction law.

The campaign was launched in May with the Sara Payne charity, Phoenix Survivors, after The Press reported the abduction of 13-year-old Natalie Hick.

The Press discovered an anomaly whereby child kidnappers cannot be put on the Sex Offenders' Register, nor have any restriction orders placed on them.

Press reporter Karen Grattage — who has been involved in the campaign from the start — and the victim's mother June, collected 400 signatures in support of the law-change in three hours. Editor Kevin Booth said: "We seem to have captured the public's imagination. Our hope now is that we are as successful with the Home Office."

Welsh media cuts offer

Alun Pugh, Minister for Culture, Welsh Language and Sport, has offered to sponsor a debate for Welsh media unions to put proposals on how to stem job losses and budget cuts. He made the announcement during a TUC conference fringe meeting, ‘Who Controls the Welsh Media?'

Pugh said two issues needed to be addressed: how the media reflected devolved politics across the UK, and how plurality (or a choice of news sources)

was maintained in Wales.

LEP helps young to develop skills

The Lancashire Evening Post has joined forces with the Arts Council England to offer young people the chance to develop their journalism skills.

Preston is hosting an annual spotlight on the arts, Art06, and youngsters aged 16 to 25 can win a video camera and then report on the event. Winners will receive a brief from the media and their pictures will be published on the Post's website.

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