SOME of Scotland’s best-known local newspapers are to be relocated from their present homes to new, ‘editorial’ hubs – with the loss of an expected five editorial posts.
Sweepinjg changes announced by Scottish & Universal Newspapers – owned by Daily Record and Sunday Mail publishers, Trinity Mirror – will see offices closed in the likes of East Kilbride, Rutherglen and Wishaw.
Says S&UN, the planned “fully integrated editorial operation” will result in “a modern multimedia operation… designed to secure the long-term future of the division’s print and digital brands”.
There are to be six hubs:
1. Southern – Dumfries & Galloway Standard and Galloway News
2. Ayrshire & West Strathclyde – Ayrshire Post, Kilmarnock Standard, Irvine Herald, and Lennox Herald
3. Paisley – Paisley Daily Express
4. South Lanarkshire – Hamilton Advertiser, East Kilbride News, and Rutherglen Reformer
5. North Lanarkshire & Lothian – Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, Wishaw Press, and Lothian Courier
6. Central Tayside – Stirling Observer, Perthshire Advertiser, Blairgowrie Advertiser, and Strathearn Herald.
Closing are five offices – in East Kilbride, Rutherglen, Wishaw, Coatbridge and Irvine. S&UN also says it is anticipated five editorial posts will be axed, along with four front counter roles and two digital technical positions.
Says S&UN: “The company is committed to achieving as many of the redundancies as possible by voluntary means and is entering into a period of consultation with affected staff.
“The new editorial plan will mean that all reporter roles – currently separated between print and digital – will be integrated into the role of multimedia journalists while photographers will become multimedia image journalists.
“This will allow staff to produce the full range of multimedia output including video, photography and copy for both web and print platforms.
“In addition, all editorial staff will be equipped with the technology that will enable them to work remotely, allowing them to spend more time on their patch.”
Meanwhile, production journalists will work on a single system which will create a ‘virtual’ team, providing them with the ability to work across all titles and websites.
Says Bill Steven, S&UN’s managing director: “We will continue to provide the local communities we serve with the very best local news, information and entertainment through our print and digital brands. Nothing in that respect will change.
“However, these are challenging times across our industry and it is essential that we make these changes now to safeguard the future of our business and our journalism.
“This reorganisation will allow us to better position ourselves for the future and ensure we take full advantage of the opportunities presented to us in this multimedia age.”
In a memo to staff, even more detail about the office closures and proposed hubs was revealed:
The company is not extending its lease on its Castle Douglas office. All employees based there will transfer to the new purpose-built premises in Dumfries during September.
There will be no job losses as a result of this office closure.
The Irvine Factory property will close with the company maintaining the town centre offices in Irvine, Ayr and Kilmarnock.
The telesales and customer services team will transfer to the Kilmarnock office with the field sales team relocating to the Ayr office.
The Irvine sub-editing team will be relocated across the three town centre offices.
As a result of these proposals it is likely that the cleaning roles based within the Irvine Factory would be at risk of redundancy. In addition, it is expected that the front counter operation across Ayrshire will be reduced by one redundancy which the company would hope to achieve through voluntary means.
Both the East Kilbride and Rutherglen offices will close with editorial employees based there transferring to the Hamilton office. This will lead to the creation of a South Lanarkshire hub.
A South Lanarkshire editor will be appointed to have overall responsibility for the associated titles.
This will require reorganisation of the office space within the Hamilton office for existing Hamilton employees.
As a result of the above proposals it is likely that the copy inputter role based at Rutherglen will be at risk of redundancy.
The Wishaw office will close with the editorial employees transferring to the Airdrie office which will function as the North Lanarkshire hub. The satellite Coatbridge office will also close.
The existing editor will remain responsible for the North Lanarkshire titles as well as the West Lothian Courier, based in Bathgate.
A new-full time role of North Lanarkshire copy inputter will be created with the current part-time roles based at Wishaw and Airdrie at risk of redundancy.
As a result of the closure of the Coatbridge office the cleaning role based there is at risk of redundancy.
Lanarkshire Front Counter
Due to the closure of the East Kilbride, Rutherglen, Wishaw and Coatbridge offices, it is likely that the front counter assistant roles based there will be at risk of redundancy.
It is proposed that voluntary redundancy would be offered across the whole of the Lanarkshire front counter team (including Hamilton and Airdrie offices).