Exodus of Abingdon news staff

The news editor and all the senior reporters at ITV Central South’s Abingdon newsroom are leaving the broadcaster after taking voluntary redundancy, in an exodus of almost one-third of editorial staff.

Eight out of 11 full-time reporters, including a sports journalist, plus a sub-editor and the news editor, have decided that, with the changes that have taken place at ITV since the Carlton-Granada merger, working for the broadcaster is no longer for them.

Seven of the redundancies are at senior level.

At least six journalists from Central Nottingham and four from Birmingham have also applied for redundancy.

Many are understood to be wary of further changes to the newsroom that will make it increasingly pressurised.

One journalist familiar with the situation told Press Gazette: “In Birmingham, some of the reporters have become video journalists using PD150 video cameras. I think there is a general feeling that people don’t want to work in the new way that ITV wants to work.”

The source added that it was not just a question of leaving because they were intimidated by technological changes, such as the introduction of desktop video editing.

“There have already been a number of technological changes over the years, so obviously no one’s a Luddite.

But it’s a general feeling that people can’t do their job and serve the public as efficiently as they would like to be able to do. It’s not just a load of grumpy Victor Meldrews leaving,” said the journalist.

ITV’s redundancy terms are a month’s pay for each year of service, capped at £50,000.

ITV Central controller of news Laurie Upshon said: “We aren’t losing everyone with experience and it’s given us an opportunity to promote the people who have been showing promise and talent.”

He said posts from Nottingham and Birmingham “in other positions” will move to Abingdon.

By Wale Azeez

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