Page last updated at 14:47 GMT, Saturday, 21 March 2009

Journalists protest over job cuts

NUJ protest
NUJ members gathered signatures from the public opposed to the cuts

Journalists whose jobs are under threat at local newspaper group Archant in Norfolk have taken part in a protest over the cuts.

About 70 reporters and photographers and their supporters took part in the protest outside the Forum in Norwich.

Archant, which owns the Eastern Daily Press and Evening News, is planning to cut 34 jobs in the county.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) organised the protest and is also behind a petition opposing the plans.

The NUJ says the cuts will damage local democracy but Archant said they were needed due to the economic downturn.

Union 'optimistic'

Peter Kelley, NUJ spokesman, said "hundreds" of people had signed the petition.

He said: "We know we're in a recession and people are losing their jobs everywhere but 34 jobs is one in five of our journalists, that's hugely disproportionate.

"We need to ask them (Archant) how do they justify that. We need the public to ask them that."

The union said talks with Archant management on Friday had been "positive".

"We've asked them some detailed questions which they've gone away to look at," Mr Kelley said.

"We're optimistic we can bring the numbers down."

Originally Archant had planned to cut 54 jobs.

At the time of the original announcement, Stephan Phillips, managing director of Archant Norfolk, said the newspaper sector was "not immune to the general downturn in the economy" and the company had to make "tough decisions".

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