Dear Sir Ray Tindle,
Re: Proposed Cuts In Staffing To Enfield Advertiser, Enfield Gazette, Haringey Advertiser and Barnet Press
I am writing to you regarding the proposed cuts to staffing for the above titles and to try and dissuade you from this catastrophic course you seem intent on taking.
I am alarmed and concerned to learn about the dwindling number of staff expected to produce the quality newspapers we expect in Enfield and have no doubt that the non replacement of staff who leave and the threat of further redundancies will lead to an erosion in the quality of the newspapers produced and will lead to the demise of a very important service for the people of Enfield and beyond. I have been a councillor for 17 years and have had the pleasure to deal with and get to know many journalists who have worked on the Enfield Gazette and Advertiser. I have always found the staff to be hard working, talented and dedicated to their job; Enfield as a borough has been the better for it as a result because they do their job properly, as it is meant to be done and the people of Enfield will be the poorer for any decline in standards.
You can be proud of the campaigns that your local journalists have run in the past ranging from people trafficking to corruption and from road safety to the proposed downgrading of the local accident and emergency unit at Chase Farm hospital. In addition there have been many excellent interviews, reviews and features which give the paper balance it needs and which make the local papers such a treasured local institutions.
The Enfield Gazette and Advertiser have for many years provided in depth analysis, scrutiny and led campaigns on behalf of the public. They have quite rightly held public figures and institutions to account and it is hard to imagine how one reporter who is writing for three different papers at the same time will have the time to do this. The danger is that your newspapers’ stories will in future, due to lack of staffing, comprise mainly of rewritten press releases which will we be hard to check and which will then taken as fact and result in churnalsim. We will not tolerate churnalism as an alternative to quality journalism in Enfield!
I find it ironic that there are a number of Sir Ray Tindle scholarships and bursaries available for students to study journalism at the University of Buckingham whilst staffing levels and conditions have been drastically reduced for working journalists locally.
I further understand that your newspapers made a £3 million profit for you last year which begs the question why do you need to make any further reductions in staffing levels by not replacing staff?
If you genuinely believe in quality local journalism you will think again about the imposition of these cuts to staffing.
I urge you to reconsider your proposals and give the people of Enfield the quality local press that they expect and they deserve.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Cllr Bambos Charalambous
Cabinet Member for Culture for Enfield Council