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18th Sep 2023

RTÉ halts search for €60k-a-year Fair City photographer following backlash

Fiona Frawley

rté fair city photographer

“It is not possible for RTÉ to commit to a four-year contract or to this level of spend given the challenges we now face”.

RTÉ is no longer looking to hire a Fair City photographer on a €60,000 a year contract. The salary for the advertised job raised eyebrows when it was made public last week.

The broadcaster had been inviting submissions as part of a public tender process for the position, which would have required the successful applicant to provide official stills photography for the popular Irish soap.

As part of this, the photographer would have needed to deliver a minimum of 16 approved photograph stills in both high and low resolution to Fair City for 50 weeks per year.

They would also have been required to be on the soap’s set or on location an average of 20 hours per week over the course of three days.

Image via Twitter/RTEFairCity

RTÉ suspends search for €60k-a-year Fair City photographer following backlash.

In a statement last week, executive producer of Fair City, Brigie de Courcy, stressed how vital the role was, stating:

“I cannot overstate the importance of high quality, highly curated photography in promoting Fair City in the busy landscape of press and digital publicity.

“It is vital to have a skilled photographer to capture, in single frames, moments of drama that will intrigue our regular audience, and bring new viewers to Fair City.

The contract for the role was for a maximum of €60,000 per annum or €240,000 over four years.

The amount of money being offered for the position raised eyebrows last week, particularly in the wake of the RTÉ secret payments scandal that broke in June and the financial crisis the broadcaster is facing.

In regards to the latter, RTÉ’s Director General Kevin Bakhurst last week announced a stop to discretionary spending at the organisation, as well as a total recruitment freeze.

Now, however, the broadcaster has stated that it is suspending the tender for a Fair City photographer.

Image via Twitter/RTEFairCity

RTÉ’s DG Kevin Bakhurst explained why the broadcaster is stopping the search for a Fair City photographer.

RTÉ cited the recruitment freeze and the stopping of all discretionary spend as the reasons for the move, adding: “RTÉ will pause the tender process and take time to review the volume of photography required and length of contract, among other considerations.

“A revised tender document will issue once these decisions have been made.”

Bakhurst, meanwhile, also said: “Given the steep fall in the licence fee and the uncertainty over interim funding, and following last week’s announcements, we have decided to halt the current tender process for Fair City photography.

“While quality professional photography is essential to enable us to promote our programmes and engage audiences, it is not possible for RTÉ to commit to a four-year contract or to this level of spend given the challenges we now face.

“So, we have decided to take time to consider the best way to balance the needs of the series with the need to reduce costs where we can. We will continue to explore how we can cut costs and maximise funding of our public services through commercial revenue, while also working hard to restore trust in RTÉ.”

Header images via rte.ie

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