Courts agency hits out at late payers

A central London news agency whose reporters cover the Royal Courts of Justice has hit out at news organisations who refuse to pay in full or on time.

Strand News provides copy to "virtually every regional newspaper in the whole country", most national newspapers, the BBC and independent television and radio news providers.

In a letter to most of the news editors of Strand's 1,000 customers, editor James Brewster wrote: "Many of our customers receive hundreds of stories from us each year, for a great deal less than the cost of employing a single junior reporter. If matters continue in the way they are, we will not be able to continue with our current level of service and we will have to consider our future."

Brewster told Press Gazette that some of the agency's clients tried to apply lower pay rates than the agency charged to copy it had provided.

He said: "We think more money is spent administering our payments than we actually get paid. It would be a good idea to cut back on administration. Then you can get to the core of putting news in newspapers."

Brewster said the situation is not so severe that the agency would face closure. He said: "We're not about to give up the ghost. I want to make sure people know before anything does happen."

The agency has seven reporters, providing 4,000 stories a year and has been in business since 1991.

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