The general secretary of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has said that Sly Bailey has failed to take the opportunity to make an impact against News International in the wake of the closure of the News of the World.
Trinity Mirror yesterday announced a fall in pre-tax profits for 2011 to £74m, and said that it would be forced to make around £15m of cuts as it expects to see advertising revenue continue to decline this year.
The NUJ has criticised the news of further budget cuts, claiming that this will bring the total in savings to £120m in four years.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “These figures are very worrying for our members working for Trinity Mirror. This is the year that should have been a triumph for Sly Bailey, with the closure of the News of the World. But she blew it. At a time when she should have been buying readers’ loyalty and investing in quality journalists to steal a march on her rivals, she was cutting staff on her national titles. It was all too easy for Rupert Murdoch to win back his readers when the Sun on Sunday was launched.
“Evidence from our reps at Trinity Mirror paints a picture of poorly paid journalists covering for redundant posts, spending most of their time uploading websites rather than finding and writing up stories. Council meetings and court cases are not being reported. Photographers are becoming a dying breed, with papers relying on readers’ pictures. Papers are thinner and editions fewer. The only good news has been some investment in websites on a number of the titles. That is why it is so depressing to see Bailey’s only strategy to improve the group’s performance is to make even more cuts.
“The NUJ has repeatedly asked for talks at a national level to look at new models to ensure the future of Trinity Mirror’s national and regional titles; but we have been rebuffed. The NUJ’s Parliamentary Group has written to Sir Ian Gibson, the group’s chair, to open a dialogue.”