It was near the start of my second academic year and I'd decided to pull my socks up and get my act together.
Regardless of living in Croydon for just a few months I decided to take the leap and get in touch with the Croydon Guardian about doing a week worth of work experience. And to my surprise I was there just a few weeks later.
It became quickly apparent though that the entire office, at all newspaper desks, were being overworked. Staff numbers were so small that having to leave the office to cover a story, or take photographs because you're sharing a photographer and lucky if you have one at all that day, meant writing stories was even more time-pressured.
In the end I was there for a few months writing about the culture and leisure events and I loved it. Not least because that is the sort of thing I love writing but because it meant the actual reporters could spend time reporting on the news.
Eventually I just disappeared without a trace, mainly because my mental health had plummeted to a point where getting out of bed would have been a success but that's a story for another time, and of course I regret it.
- The staff do not need job cuts but rather extra staff members to be able to get out the office and do more journalism.
- When put under such pressures of low staff numbers the least that could be done is pay them a decent wage. And Newsquest increasing one persons wages whilst dismissing their colleague does not count.
- If you have a one (wo)man army producing newspaper content it becomes difficult to become creative enough to make the whole newspaper not say Written By X.
- Newsquest need to realise that being efficient and profit making does not mean having poor wages and low staff numbers in a newspaper. You need a certain number of well paid staff to get the best newspaper possible.
But above all newspapers are becoming freesheets. Freesheets are newspapers that are free to the audience and consumer. They are not free to produce. Producing anything of quality involves putting money in to see a return.
I hope that at 1pm the management come back to their employees and see sense. They forget cutting jobs and they give them a wage cut. It doesn't make things perfect but it is at least a good start. And as a member of the NUJ and journalism industry for five years I really hope that things work out well here. But even if this battle is one the war does not stop here because they will try and attack again and again and each time we must unite together to resist their draconian cuts and obsession for wealth.
Somebody should also remind Newsquest that newspapers have not been money making machines on the whole for years and that they simply buy the owner power both socially and politically and if the management board are in this for the profit then they are the ones that should be dismissed for being in the wrong industry.