RIP Neath Guardian
Posted on Friday, September 25, 2009 at 4:39pm
I’m really quite angry at Trinity Mirror’s decision to end the circulation of the Neath and Port Talbot Guardian. They will print the last edition next Thursday. Publishing Editor for Trinity Mirror said that this has taken place due to the fact that tough economic times means its continuation is not possible. Considering that it has a wide circulation, I am puzzled by this decision. Why the Neath Guardian before other local Trinity Mirror papers? Is it really to do with financial constraints that they are axing the Neath Guardian, or other reasons?
The paper had already recently been amalgamated with the Glamorgan Gazette which covers the Bridgend area. Although it is in the same region that I represent, the people are different, the issues vary, and I found it hard to understand how already rushed journalists would try and cover stories over such a large geographical area.
Now of course that won’t be the concern of Trinity Mirror, but there will be less local news, and obviously less competition for the local daily, The Evening Post. I am personally annoyed of course because I had a column in the Neath Guardian, and could generate debate, in a different way to how I communicate here on this blog. It gives us the opportunity to air our opinions on a very local level, and to ensure that people know about what we are doing as AMs.
Now the news provision for the area will be centralised yet again, and I am not quite sure as yet what plans Trinity Mirror has to try and justify that they will be able to report locally while acting on a National basis. This is compounded by the fact that more jobs are set to go at Trinity Mirror, and the NUJ have asked their officials to organise a strike ballot following the company’s failure to guarantee that there will be no compulsory redundancies in a plan to cut jobs. The company has announced a two month consultation period for its redundancy proposals but Martin Shipton said that ‘although we have been briefed fully about the financial position of the company and the group, we are determined that no NUJ member should be made compulsorily redundant as a result of these cuts. We expect the company to ensure that will be the outcome.”
Alun Ffred Jones the Heritage Minister has said the following-
“The announcement by Media Wales of 15 job losses is disappointing, as is the news that the Neath Guardian title is to disappear. Regional news outlets have a key role to play in ensuring that people can read about events and decisions which affect their everyday lives in the newspapers.
“Local papers have historically been not only a key medium of discussion for local issues, but also a campaigning force within their local communities and I am saddened to hear of the demise of another local title’.
I understand that Alun Ffred Jones has met with Trinity Mirror to discuss the future of newspapers in Wales. It is a very worrying time for Welsh media, especially in light of the cuts in Welsh programming by ITV, and the fact that the Carter review seems to be sitting on a shelf collecting dust at the moment. Of course, I would like to see broadcasting fully devolved to Wales so that we can tackle these issues head on here in Wales, and now is the time to do it. What do we want to see for a Wales with devolved government in full flow? We certainly do not want to see more centralised news outlets, and a lack of plurality of programme providers. We have to act now or the industry will diminish before our eyes.