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Protest at awards night

Published: 6:36PM Saturday May 19, 2007 Source: One News

New Zealand's top newspaper journalists were honoured in Wellington on Saturday night at the Qantas awards but the glitzy ceremony was disrupted by a protest against changes in the newspaper industry.

The evening is a showcase for the written word but the journalists took the stage to protest moves by APN, owners of the New Zealand Herald, to contract out subediting jobs like headline writing and layout to an Australian company.

"This centralisation of sub-editing is going to reduce excellence - make it much harder to produce good stories - because we're going to be separating the people who write them from those with the institutional knowledge of what's gone on in the past," says union delegate Simon Collins.

The move also affects regional papers like the Bay of Plenty Times and Rotorua's Daily Post.

APN says there will be 70 jobs affected by their decision to outsource sub-editing and the vast bulk of those will be in Auckland.

APN has previously said the change will mean more efficient production but readers can judge next month when the first pages under the new system roll off the presses.

The protesting journalists are not worried about repercussions.

"This is a democracy," says Collins.

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