Archant will look to its reporters and the public to provide images for stories under a proposed restructure of the local newspaper group’s photography departments that will reduce the number of staff photographers.
Press Gazette understands that three out of four full-time photographers working on the group’s east London titles, including flagship the Romford Recorder, will face redundancy if the proposals go ahead.
An email sent to all Archant staff by chief content officer Matt Kelly, seen by Press Gazette, said the move across the group was a response to the “changes of behaviour” of readers following the digital technology boom.
He said: “We believe it’s essential that our business responds to those changes of behaviour if we are to be as relevant as possible in our communities.
“If these proposals go ahead, it will result in a restructure and reorganisation of the photography departments across our newspaper locations.”
Kelly, who joined Archant from Local World in October last year, said the proposals gave the group the “opportunity to retain the skills of specialist photographers when we need them, while at the same time making it clear that all our editorial staff should be able to take publishable quality photographs and video as a matter of routine”.
He added: “Importantly, through the adoption of the new role of photo curators, it also put a renewed focus on engaging with others within our communities who have quality photos and video they would like to share with us, as we have already seen in part via the iWitness24 website.”
The iWitness24 website is an Archant-owned website that encourages members of the community to sign up for free and share their photographs with others.
Kelly said the proposal was based on a “coherent and positive content strategy focused on building large, loyal and local audiences”. A series of sessions in which staff will be able to pose questions about the proposal, once it has been finalised, are being organised.