An ex from Rural Press writes:

I’d like to add to your story on editorial problems at Rural Press,
otherwise known to its long term staff as Ruthless Press or Rural
Stress. I worked for a little under two years at The Land,
Rural Press’s flagship rural publication. The job application that I
applied for stated that they were looking for a young ambitious person,
who would spend two or three days on the road each week at a maximum
week of 38.5 hours. When I arrived at The Land‘s North Richmond
offices, I asked for a timebook, as was the norm in my previous news
jobs, and was told that management keep track of your hours.

Four weeks into the job I was working 60 and 70 hour weeks, and had had
the good fortune to have one Sunday out of four off. The two or three
days a week on the road had stretched to five and six days a week and
when I asked about overtime, I was told that it’s not Rural Press policy
to pay overtime. The camera equipment I was given was an old Olympus
E20 which was over six years old. With this camera, which had a two second
delay when you pressed the shutter release, I was expected to take photos of
editorial quality. When I was on the road, I often spent 11
or 12 hours in the car during a day’s work, with no time for a lunch
break or driving breaks, as my editor would dictate, from his office at
North Richmond, what jobs I had to do along the way and where I had to
be by that night, sometimes driving all through the day and into the
night to get to a location deemed “far enough away.” After I
stopped at night, I was then to put my photos into the system, a
process that took up to four hours and would end my night at an extremely
late hour. Then I would start receiving phone calls from my editor as
early as 6.30am and start the whole day over again.

In my last six months at The Land, we had a change of editor, and even longer hours which the editorial staff were
expected to keep. Around this time, all of the disgruntled staff got
together and wrote a letter to management, a carefully worded piece
which stated a wish to keep our jobs but it being hard given the high
turnover of staff (and no new staff to fill the gaps), the expectation
that we would continue working 60 and 70 hour weeks with no overtime
and the feeling that management completely ignored our complaints for
better equipment and more training.

To read on, click here.

Another ex Rural Press insider writes:

I read with interest your story
regarding Rural Press having a high turnover of editorial staff. In the
last two years a small regional publication that Rural Press own has
had eight sales staff resign. I am absolutely positive that any
problems Rural Press have are not just confined to editorial staff. Of
the eight staff who left this one publication, I am confident that at
least five would cite lack of managerial skills and bullying
from management as the main causes for leaving. When staff turnover is
so high in these publications, one would have to wonder why the powers
that be don’t investigate. When quality staff are employed, wouldn’t it
be good practice for management to work with them to iron out problems
to ensure that these staff are retained instead of adopting the
attitude that there are 20 more people lined up outside unemployed
waiting for a chance? Anyone with half a brain, some initiative, a will
to succeed and an inability to sweep harassment and bullying under the
carpet will never stay at a Rural Press publication. On the other hand,
a*se kissing, back stabbing and incompetence are embraced.