Telegraph showdown for the â€Ë"district two'

In Telegraph Plaza at Victoria, two of the paper’s most experienced reporters are in dispute with Will Lewis, the editor, not only over their future, but also over the future of district offices.

David Sapsted (who covers the South East) and Stewart Payne (he is responsible for the Thames Valley) went into head office for their showdown and grievance procedure hearings last week. In addition, Justin Williams from the Sunday Telegraph was in attendance to create an aura of neutrality.

The “district two” as they’ve become known, made their cases for staying put and will hear within a few weeks about the management’s final decision. The two are fighting vehemently for the offices to stay open and don’t want to work in London.

The editor has offered them jobs at Telegraph Plaza. But Axegrinder understands that Payne was specifically assured on being appointed to the paper that it was to work the Thames Valley district and not London.

“He left the Evening Standard for that reason,” says my man in the know.

And as for Sappers, as he’s fondly known, he received a similar assurance from Charles Moore, then editor. “It was effectively his consolation prize for being brought back from New York, where he did an excellent job.

Tony Gallagher, head of news, is said to be the “leading light” in wanting to close down the district offices.

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