City centre protest at Bristol Evening Post job cuts and closure of Venue

April 17, 2012

Journalists will this evening stage a demonstration in Bristol city centre against swingeing job cuts at the Bristol Evening Post, the closure of its Saturday edition and the end of Venue magazine

The protest, staged by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and supported by other trade unionists, coincides with an exhibition marking 80 years of the Bristol Evening Post in the Galleries shopping mall in Broadmead. The low-key exhibition displays front pages of the newspaper down the years.

Management at the title, owned by London-based Northcliffe Media, told journalists on Friday that 20 jobs must be cut from its 56-strong editorial staff – the latest in a string of redundancies at the struggling paper, whose circulation has plummeted in recent years.

All eight photographers on the paper are understood to have been told they will be made redundant and may then be re-employed on a freelance basis.

The ‘Evening’ will also be dropped from the newspaper’s name from this Thursday to reflect the fact that it has been printed in the morning for the past three years, despite this putting the Post in direct competition with the free Metro tabloid which is owned by Northcliffe’s parent company Daily Mail & General Trust.

Bristol NUJ branch chair Paul Breeden said the protest was being staged to point out the irony of the exhibition being held at the same time that cuts were being made.

“Bristol NUJ is dismayed at this latest round of cuts,” he said. “In 2005 there were about 190 journalists in the Post building across two papers (Evening Post and sister publication the Western Daily Press), that has now dropped to under 50.”

The Post will become a five day a week publication from next month. Northcliffe Media is also axing the widely-respected Bristol and Bath listing magazine Venue, although its website will continue. It had planned to shut Venue a year ago but, following a public outcry, made it part of its monthly giveaway lifestyle magazine Folion.

The group has also recently stopped publishing its monthly South West Business magazine. In recent years it has also culled its Evening Post listings and entertainment pull-out and website Crackerjack despite ploughing funds into it.

Last Friday Bristol News and Media publisher Alan Renwick said the changes would give “a more focused and flexible set of publications which are much more closely aligned to our customers and give us a better platform for future growth.”


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