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April 30, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 7:43am

Photographer among latest cuts to staff at Newsquest titles in Oxford

By James Walker

The last staff photographer working across the daily Oxford Mail and weekly Oxford Times has left in the latest round of cuts at Newsquest.

The regional publisher is also looking to cut another editorial job at its Oxford titles, according to the local National Union of Journalists branch.

It comes after Newsquest confirmed in September that seven jobs at its editorial departments in Oxfordshire and Wiltshire faced the chop.

Yesterday it was revealed that ten jobs at the publisher’s Bournemouth and Southampton Daily Echo newspapers were also at risk of redundancy.

A message from Oxford NUJ branch, which was shared on social media, said: “These latest developments come on the heels of many previous rounds of redundancy at The Oxford Mail and Oxford Times and are part of an ongoing process by Newsquest, which is systematically slashing investment and managing the decline of its local newspaper titles.

“Our branch stands in solidarity with members whose jobs have been lost and those whose jobs are at risk now and in the future. We believe Newsquest’s actions are detrimental to quality journalism.”

NUJ organiser Andy Smith said: “The company should reconsider the proposed redundancies in Oxford and in other centres including Southampton, Bournemouth and Cheshire.

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“They have to understand the consequences, on staff and on the titles, of under-staffed newsrooms and job insecurity caused by endless rounds of job cuts.”

Press Gazette contacted Newsquest, part of US media firm Gannett, for a statement on the cuts, but has yet to receive a response.

The Oxford Mail recently hired its first journalist under the Facebook-funded Community News Project. Stanislaw Skarzynski, 36, started at the paper this month following a move from Poland to Bicester.

Speaking to the Mail about his appointment, he said: “Not only am I going to report on communities that are under-represented, but I want to find a way to re-engage with younger readers and adapt the news for them.”

The Facebook-backed scheme has seen the tech giant provide £4.5m in funding for 82 community news reporters to be hired in “under-served” locations across the country.

The scheme is overseen by the National Council for the Training of Journalists, who recently hired Independent deputy managing editor Will Gore to head it up.

Newsquest is set to receive a total of 23 community reporters from the Facebook-funded scheme.

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