Sunday Times Scotland to be effectively shut down

ONE of Scotland’s biggest-selling newspapers is to be effectively axed, to just a handful of writers.

Sunday Times Scotland staff were told just minutes ago that their paper was being effectively shut down.

It is understood the last edition will be at the end of next month. And that only a reporter, a sports reporter, a columnist and a parliamentary correspondent will be retained.

Staff were gathered to be informed of their fate by the Sunday Times’ managing editor, Richard Caseby.

The editors all facing redundancy include Carlos Alba (editor), Camillo Fracassini (deputy), Joan McAlpine (Ecosse), Keith Anderson (sport), Tim Dawson (Home), Jeremy Bayston (pictures) and Jane Bradley (business).

The decision follows hard on the heels of publishers, News International, announcing – less than a fortnight ago – that Manchester-based Sandra Tinker was appointed sales regional director with responsibilities including the Scottish operation. The announcement was that the general manager of News International Scotland, Steven Walker, was about to step down from his post and that sales director, Elaine Ward-Fincham had already gone, with marketing director, Sean Duffy, also departing.

According to a report in the Drum marketing and media magazine, there will be still a Scotland edition, quoting ‘an insider’ saying: “The newspaper will continue to publish Scottish content and produce Scottish supplements, so it is hoped that by and large the average reader will not notice too much difference. And even if we lose some sales it will not be enough to counter the cost saving benefits.”

These last few months have seen the paper sell, in Scotland, an average 64,000 or thereabouts: 64,092 during March, 63,915 during February and 65,567 during January.

During the recent Scottish Press Awards, Sunday Times Scotland received four nominations (Scoop of the Year: Jason Allardyce, Reporter of the Year: Mark Richard Macaskill, Arts/Entertainment Journalist of the Year: Allan Brown and Anna Burnside) and one win: Political Journalist of the Year for Jason Allardyce.