Gannett owned Newsquest introduces new revenue stream: charging students to write for their papers
The Gannett owned UK newspaper chain Newsquest has drawn fire from other newspapers and the National Union of Journalists for a new scheme that would charge students to have their bylines appear in the paper. The fee is part of the paper’s Young Reporter initiative, one established in 2011.
“So far some really fascinating articles and great photographs have been uploaded by the students within the specified deadlines,” Diana Jarvis, who coordinates the program, said in 2011. “We are delighted that so many schools signed up for this unique opportunity, which allows students to try their hand at journalism working alongside professionals.”
But now the program is charging students £100 to submit a story, plus the £20 registration fee.
“We have students from 10 to 13 years of age writing on this programme and they have no journalism experience, as such,” Jarvis told the Huffington Post. “We have to do a lot of work to enable their stuff to go up [on the site] without any libel risks. It is not a money-making exercise.”
The National Union of Journalists is not pleased:
“College lecturers tell me they are outraged and they are quite right to be,” Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the NUJ said. “We also know that Newsquest is using students to do shifts at its subbing hub in Newport, after sacking sub-editors on its newspapers across the land.”
“While Newsquest is sacking professional staff on its titles, it is charging journalist students for writing articles for them. The unpaid intern has become the scourge of the media profession – now Newsquest is asking for journalist students to actually pay for a by-line. The company’s cynicism beggars belief, and preys on young people desperate to get a break in a competitive industry.”
Newsquest is the UK’s third largest publisher of regional and local newspapers with 300 titles owned. The company was founded in 1995 when the PE firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts financed a £210 million management buy-out of the Reed Regional Newspapers group. Gannett acquired the group in 1999.