Newspapers purge one in four reporters

Newspapers purge one in four reporters
A quarter of journalists in southern Sweden have been made redundant in the past three years, with observers warning the workload and stress could take its toll on newspapers' quality.

Some 150 journalists working for newspapers in Skåne have faced the sack due to budget cuts in the past three years, the News Öresund news service reported on Wednesday.

“It affects the climate in the newsroom. It’s not a positive mood and people are worried both about the company’s future and the future of media,” said Torbjörn Wester, union spokesman at the newspaper Skånska Dagbladet, which has cut 15 percent of its editorial staff.

“It also affects the journalism.”

By the end of 2013, the big regional newspaper Sydsvenskan will have axed 29 percent of its journalists, while Helsingborgs Dagblad has asked 31 percent to leave. A handful of smaller papers in the region have all cut their editorial staff by around 14 percent.

“We’re in the middle of a structural change, with readers moving from paper to digital products,” said Per Hultengård, CEO of Tidningsutgivarna which represents newspaper publishers in Sweden.

The Swedish Journalism Union (SJF) said the change could affect the entire Öresund Region, but added the numbers did not show the transfer of jobs from permanent employment to contract-based jobs or freelance positions.

“A lot of the work has been outsourced to freelancers and to temporary staffing agencies,” union head Jonas Nordling commented.

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