Two job adverts: Sub-Editor and Photographer

This week we are advertising two jobs (see attachments) after the chief sub-editor and a photographer position became available.

The positions are for a fixed-term contract until the end of 2011. Anyone interested must send a CV and covering letter to our editor Gary O’Keeffe: by August 31.

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Job advert: Part-time trainee reporter position

As part of the agreement we’ve been granted a part-time reporter position, this advert was published in our papers last week:

Anyone interested in applying needs to send a CV and covering letter to our editor Gary O’Keeffe.

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Reports from NUJ launch

Monday night saw the NUJ launch their national campaign to save local newspapers in Enfield.

New general secretary of the union Michelle Stanistreet addressed a gathering of residents from Barnet, Enfield, Haringey and parts of south Hertfordshire about the problems within the industry which has led to a reduction in local journalists and regional coverage.

Leader of Enfield Council Doug Taylor and Barnet Unison branch secretary John Burgess addressed the need for local newspapers to hold the authorities to account.

Chief photographer Anne-Marie Sanderson reminded those gathered about the difference local newspapers make to individual lives.

Thais Portilho-Shrimpton from Newsquest’s south London papers spoke about their recent dispute over redundancies to the group’s sports and leisure reporters.

Eric Gordon, editor of the Camden New Journal spoke about alternative models of ownership and Barry Fitzpatrick, head of publishing for the NUJ also spoke about how newspapers change hands and the need for investment if regionals are to provide in-depth quality news coverage.

Here is the NUJ’s write up from the night:

Here are a selection of images:

And here is a YouTube video of NUJ local campaign launch.

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Reminder: National campaign to protect local journalism launches on Monday

Here is a leaflet from the NUJ about the campaign launch on Monday:

We hope you can come and join us.

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Enfield nine strike a deal with Tindle

THE Enfield Nine have called off their second strike following concessions from management.

Following a successful day of negotiations Tindle has agreed to reverse its policy of non-replacement agreeing to a six month moratorium on present staffing levels – guaranteeing that if anyone in editorial leaves over this period they will be replaced. They have also agreed an extra reporter to work for half the week to help out with the current workload. The situation after six months will then be reviewed.

It has also withdrawn redundancy consultation notices issued to staff on the eve of their first walk out.

Jonathan Lovett FOC at North London & Herts Newspapers said: “It has been a long, hard struggle but we are satisfied with the result and now look forward to working together with Tindle to ensure our papers are returned to the quality publications which our readers deserve. We have many ideas for the future of our papers and we look forward to sharing them with the Tindle management across the table.”

Enfield hosts the launch of a national, National Union of Journalists campaign on Monday, July 4 to save local newspapers. It starts at 6.30pm at The Dugdale Centre in Thomas Hardy House, 39 London Road, Enfield, EN2 6DS. There will be a range of speakers followed by a Q&A session with The Enfield Nine. All are welcome.

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Enfield Nine launch a campaign with NUJ to save quality local newspapers

A ONE hundred per cent ‘Yes’ vote in favour of strike action was the result of the second ballot at North London & Herts Newspapers, owned by Sir Ray Tindle.

The rock-solid declaration – which included the editor joining the ballot for the first time – was the result of management’s refusal to meet or even discuss the desperate situation at the Enfield-based papers, where two thirds of the newsdesk have left without being replaced.

Even before their two-week strike two months ago there were just THREE reporters churning out nine newspapers. Since then, one of the three has handed in her notice, meaning they are now faced with the impossible situation of TWO reporters writing nine papers with no word on her replacement. Not only that but since the action, management has cut freelance cover for photographic, production and editorial.

Jonathan Lovett, Father of the Chapel, said: “The latest cuts and suicidal policy of non-replacement is final proof that Tindle couldn’t give a damn about quality papers. The man who claims he is the saviour of local newspapers is, in our experience, the destroyer as he runs once loved, award-winning publications into the ground – an insult to our readers. The battle for the soul of the local press is raging up and down the country and now is the time for chapels, journalists and concerned readers to stand up and be counted before it is too late and fantastic local papers that once made a difference in their communities are consigned to the scrap heap.”

In recognition of their fight the National Union of Journalists has chosen Enfield as the launch pad for a national campaign to save local newspapers. The public forum will take place at 6.30pm on Monday, July 4 at the Dugdale Centre, Thomas Hardy House, London Road, Enfield Town, EN2 6DS. A range of speakers including MPs and the new general secretary of the NUJ, Michelle Stanistreet, will be followed by a Q&A session featuring the Enfield Nine. All are welcome.

Notes for editors:

* North London & Herts Newspapers comprises: The Enfield Advertiser, The Edmonton Advertiser & Herald, The Winchmore Hill Advertiser & Herald, The Haringey Advertiser, The Enfield Gazette, The Barnet & Potters Bar Press, The East Barnet Press & Advertiser, The Edgware & Mill Hill Press, The
Hendon & Finchley Press.

* To find out more search:
Facebook for Gazette, Advertiser and Press on Strike
Twitter: @StrikeGazAdPres
Phone: Father of the Chapel, Jonathan Lovett, on 07917 871 421

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Sir Ray receives an invitation

Last week Andy Love MP tabled an EDM about our dispute and the NUJ Parliamentary Group wrote to Sir Ray Tindle.

Here is an extract of the letter inviting him to meet with a delegation of MPs and trade union representatives in order to resolve our dispute “amicably”.

“The Group supports the local philosophy of the Tindle Newspapers group and endorses the words of Brian Doel, the Group Managing Director who is quoted as ‘we’ve kept each title very local with local editors and subs and reporters as much as possible.  They know most about the community they serve’.  However we believe that the situation at the North London and Herts newspaper group is somewhat different to this philosophy.  For example, we are led to believe that local management has taken a decision to dispense with all the freelance photographers who were relied upon to cover evening and weekend jobs; a regular sub-editor who assisted with the subbing of the newspapers and a journalist used for occasional holiday cover have all been dismissed.

As you will know these steps, and the exhausting of the negotiating procedures, left the NUJ with no alternative but to ballot their members at the group for industrial action.  Consequently NUJ members at the Group took industrial action for two weeks between April 18 and April 29 2011.  We are informed that the NUJ is conducting a fresh ballot on industrial action and that the previous strike was well supported by the local community.

In order to resolve this dispute amicably for all parties and to preserve quality local newspapers we would like to invite you to meet with a delegation of MPs and trade union representatives from the NUJ to discuss this case as soon as possible.”

Click her for the full letter: NUJ Parliament Group Letter to Sir Ray Tindle

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Early Day Motion

THIS week the NUJ Parliamentary Group received a briefing on our situation and in response yesterday Edmonton MP Andy Love lodged an Early Daily Motion alerting the House of Commons to our plight and calling on Sir Ray Tindle to meet with the union to resolve the dispute.

Early day motion 1896: North London and Herts Newspaper Group
That this House applauds the stand taken by journalists at the North London and Herts newspaper group in defence of quality newspapers; notes that over the last two years more than half of the newsdesk have left the newspapers without new staff being appointed; further notes that there are now only two reporters covering nine newspapers; believes that journalists are therefore unable to cover important stories in depth, are unable to cover community or political events, council meetings and court cases; believes that this runs contrary to the Tindle Newspapers Ltd’s local newspaper philosophy; further notes that the group’s proprietor Sir Ray Tindle has a personal fortune of 149 million and that the parent company made 8.6 million profit two years ago; and calls on Sir Ray Tindle to meet with the National Union of Journalists in order to resolve this dispute and preserve quality newspapers for the local communities.

Primary sponsor: Andrew Love, Date tabled: 09.06.2011

Ask your MP to sign EDM 1896
Early Day Motions are very good ways of raising issues in parliament, which may not get debated in normal sittings of parliament.
You can contact your MP for free on

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‘People hearing without listening’

“People talking without speaking

People hearing without listening…

‘Fools,’ said I, ‘You do not know  

Silence like a cancer grows.'”

Sound Of Silence  – Paul Simon

That lyric from Paul Simon sums up the situation we are facing at the moment quite aptly. And the sound of silence is deafening.

The Tindle management has “talked” to us by stripping out all of our freelancers, communicating the message that just because it was able to throw together a quite frankly embarrassing excuse for a newspaper while we were out on strike, then we were clearly being lavished with an excess of resources.

They hear but they just don’t listen…

It’s not just about filling the spaces between the adverts with words. It’s an insult to our readers to treat them with such disdain to suppose that they do not care about the depth and accuracy of coverage, but it is clearly a notion that the management endorses. Our MPs, along with all those who have shown their support for us over the past weeks, have stressed the importance of the role of a newspaper as a guardian of local democracy – a means of holding public bodies and businesses to account.

Our readers do care. And so do we – passionately.

But wait. Perhaps I’m being too unfair on the management about its lack of communication. After all, our FOC, Jonathan Lovett, is meeting one of the management team, Peter Edwards, this very Tuesday. So all this talk of not communica…

Sorry? What’s that? Tuesday’s meeting has been scrubbed?  

Management is now refusing to talk to us at all until after the board meeting on June 22. Oh dear. It’s not very good is it?

And as the last line of that Paul Simon lyric puts it: “silence like a cancer grows….”

Meanwhile, envelopes containing ballot papers drop silently onto nine doormats. NUJ members sit at home quietly marking a now-familiar yellow voting paper with the two strokes of a X, pausing perhaps to look up and out at an imaginary horizon, contemplating what might lie along the path ahead…

The Enfield’s Nine’s battle for quality journalism – goes on…

James Lowe

Sub editor and deputy FoC

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More cuts

TO paraphrase Henry Ford, our owners like giving us news of, “any colour… so long as it’s black”.

Having returned to work after two high-profile weeks of strike action we received three weeks of silence from management and then… an announcement that all our freelance budget was going to be cut! Unbelievable.

So, not only is Tindle intent on a suicidal mission of non-replacement of staff, but he has now decided to strip away the entire support team which we rely on to get these papers out. It’s as though a football team has been told they can only play with half their players and then the owner takes their boots away. It means no more photographers to help the two full-timers over weekends or on evening jobs, no more freelance sub-editors who help out our couple of staff members sub the vast amount of copy, no more journalists who fill in and help write the many articles when a couple of the reporters are away on holiday.

It has added insult to injury and is a real kick in the teeth for an already demoralised workforce.

What’s more, one of our senior reporters has today handed in her notice after finding employment elsewhere, and there is zero guarantee that she will be replaced – meaning it could potentially be just two reporters churning out a grand total of nine newspapers. (Management, as always, is refusing to say whether her position will be filled or not – we dread the later).

And so we are balloting again for further industrial action in the hope that Ray Tindle will finally come to his senses and allow us to wake from this particularly gruesome nightmare. We hope he will finally realise you cannot provide quality newspapers for north London with a skeleton staff that is being constantly eroded. All we want are the journalists to do the job, so our readers can benefit from proper, campaigning papers at the heart of the community.

We are angry we have been forced into this situation, yet again, but want to send out a clear, direct message that this is utterly unacceptable and the battle is still ongoing.

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