Troubled Times

Job cuts at Newsquest, owners of various titles including our very own Richmond and Twickenham Times, have prompted journos there to go on strike. Their gripe concerns post closures and the consequent drop in the breadth and quality of coverage at a time when Newsquest, is turning a decent profit. Picketing has taken place at Newsquest’s Sutton HQ but also at the R&TT offices on London Road, Twickenham. According to the picket line “special edition” of the paper, Newsquest had proposed closing 15 posts (including the entire 8-strong sport & leisure department). It then seems that management decided to save 2 (yes, two) of these posts but despite this, says the picket line special, the entire sport & leisure department could be closed by the end of the month.

We assume that for Newsquest the decisions are purely a numbers game reflecting not just recent financial performance but future projections too. It’s a tough market. The disgruntled hacks claim that it is they, and not the suits in Sutton, who understand the value of local papers and what they do for the community. They could well have a point. A weak local paper goes directly into the recycling box, putting a title on a downward spiral. A strong local paper is valued and fills an important role in the community, a role that even the most excellent of hyperlocal blog sites cannot fill.

Links:
Guardian item: here: http://bit.ly/mkRAy2
Twickerati item on the new R&TT venture “twickenhamlive” is here.

10 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News

10 responses to “Troubled Times

  1. Gareth Roberts

    Meh! I think that as long as there is still hard hitting local news then there’s always room for Squirrels nicking gardening gloves; in fact people seem to like it as it spawned a small response of correspondence on the issue.

    After all, it wasn’t that long ago that there used to be the ‘And Finally…….’ slot on News at Ten which featured something lightweight like a hedgehog that delivered newspapers or similar old tut. I don’t know if they still have the slot as I can’t watch News at Ten anymore as it seems to have nosebombed into some gawd awful tabloid tripe-a-thon.

  2. Telemachus

    Boss – page 2 latest paper edition.

    I hope Twickerati will follow suit and have a reporter onsite at the ice cream van in case of other notable sightings. Rumour has it a mum and child were spotted licking an ice cream on the riverside too earlier in the week.

    • If you describe the mother and child we’ll try to track them down for an exclusive interview.
      (Wondering if that filler story in the R&TT co-incided with one of the strike days.)

    • Boss

      Indeed, i’d missed it. I was frankly stunned that this was not front page news.

      On closer examination, it looks like they’ve gone for the plain, vanilla cone with a flake. But really, you’d hope that your local newspaper could provide this kind of story with the detail it needs.

      Apropos of nothing, the ice cream van featured is owned by the dad of the bloke who owns Twicks Barbers at the top of Heath Road – little local knowledge for you, there.

  3. Boss

    The firemen-having-an-ice-cream story never made it to the paper edition. It’s the lack of journalistic depth that annoys me – no mention of what flavour they were all eating!

  4. Telemachus

    Not local, are you mad!? Vermin in local gardens, firemen buying an ice cream on the Twick riverside, what could be more local?

    Many years ago when we had milk delivered by the local milkman, sometimes I would find that the gold top would have small holes on its top. A ‘stake out’ was difficult because I was usually asleep when the milk was delivered. I am wondering if the RTT might be interested to reopen ‘the mysterious case of the gold top milk’?

  5. Monkeybanjo

    I agree with the comments above. I read the local paper to find out about local news and hopefully about things that are coming up. RTT with its big team seems to be struggling to do in competition with Twickerati. Perhaps, the writers could be persuaded to ‘cross the floor’?

  6. twickerman

    The R&TTimes journo’s have asked that local residents email Newsquest MD Roger Mills (rmills@london.newsquest.co.uk) asking him to restore news quality…..and to spare us the ‘vermin stealing local idiots gloves and shoes’ stories.

  7. SGdB

    The Ric&Twick has been getting further and further from being a LOCAL newspaper. So much of the content is clearly stuff syndicated through all editions. We don’t need reviews of films and other national events, or standard non-area-specific articles.

    What a LOCAL newspaper should do is cover LOCAL events. Where are the theatre reviews of all the excellent productions happening in the Borough? I don’t mean just Richmond Theatre and The Orange Tree, but also The Mary Wallace Theatre, Hampton Hill Playhouse and other venues hosting local groups such as Q2 Players. There should be coverage of local school events, sports activities, concerts fetes, festivals – all things of real interest to LOCAL people. Also, of course, we want plenty of LOCAL news – there is plenty going on in this busy and thriving area.

    The way this paper is going, it soon won’t be worth reading and so will lose all purpose and then it will die. Advertisers won’t waste their money on scrap paper which goes straight in the bin.