Six axed at Sky as Pollard overhauls his news team

Sky News has axed six staff from its news team, including reporters Gary Cotterill and Philippa Young.

Other casualties include executive producers Jonathan Warner and Martin Lawson, and picture editor Rob McNaught. Tim Needham, head of the Sky News business unit, has also left the channel.

The announcement was made to fellow newsroom staff in an e-mail from the head of Sky News, Nick Pollard.

He said: “Some personnel changes have taken place here at Sky News. Six members of staff, including a number who have been with us for many years and have played important roles here, will be leaving.

“This is not something I have done lightly, but I do believe that we need to move forward to meet the challenges in our very competitive industry. We are the market leader and we need to be in the best possible shape if we are to remain so. I expect to be appointing high-quality replacements to the posts that will be vacated. All the people have now been spoken to and will not be returning to work.”

The NUJ described the sackings as “a despicable act”. NUJ broadcasting officer Paul McLaughlin, said: “This is further evidence of the highly questionable nature of Sky’s employment practices. This type of action underlines exactly why people need to be in an organised and recognised trade union.”

McLaughlin confirmed that the NUJ would be looking to do whatever it could for those of its members effected by the cuts.

A Sky spokesman confirmed that the six long-serving members of the award-winning Sky News team had left the company.

“They have not been made redundant and they will be replaced. Sky recognises their contribution to its success over the years and wishes them well for the future.”

By Paul Donovan

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