The debate over low cost (or even free) photography that has caused such a storm in the US this month, has made it across to the UK, with the National Union of Journalists accusing Newsquest of rewarding newsrooms that pay the least for photography.
The union claims that Newsquest, the second largest publisher of regional and local newspapers in the United Kingdom with 205 brands, has given prizes to the “centres that use the most unpaid-for copy”.
It says that Newsquest’s Weymouth branch, publisher of the Bridgeport and Lyme Regis News, and the Northern Echo won £4,000 under the scheme. According to the NUJ, free contributions from readers made up almost 17 per cent of the centre’s editorial output.
Speaking to Press Gazette, NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser Chris Morley said: “We warned it risked setting Newsquest journalists in different centres against each other in a race to the bottom to maximise profits on the back of not paying for content.”
The NUJ is currently running the month-long #useitpayforit campaign to encourage amateur photographers to charge “properly” for their work. Last week it also condemned the photography budgets of Newsquest and fellow regional publishers Trinity Mirror and Johnston.