Between 20-30 jobs at risk of redundancy at Scotsman titles

BETWEEN 20-30 editorial jobs are at risk of redundancy at The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday newspapers, it has been just announced.

At a meeting held at 2pm, staff were told of the possible cutbacks, but there are no details yet decided as to who will be affected because the papers are also embarking on a review of its editorial. understands the aim is to engage further with ‘civic Scotland’, but with less resources, in the hope of providing the titles with a sustainable future.

The Scotsman, for instance, already has a strong debate and opinion section and it’s believed the challenge the papers’ senior management have set themselves is to juggle the ambition to do more of that type of ‘re-engagement’ while operating on the reduced resources caused by continually falling sales.

There are around 120 posts at the papers, 100 being full-time, and the proposed cutbacks are not expected to directly affect sister title, the Edinburgh Evening News.

The Scotsman Publications Ltd (The Scotsman, SoS and the Evening News) are said to be losing £20,000 a week.

Earlier this month, The Scotsman and SoS requested of the Audit Bureau of Circulation that their sales figures be no longer published on a monthly basis, as per national titles, but instead are reported six-monthly along, with regionals.

The latest published sales figures for The Scotsman was an average 32,035 per day during January, down 17.5 per cent on 12 months previously, when the average stood at 38,844. The corresponding figures for Scotland on Sunday are 36,597, down 24.4 per cent on 12 months previously, at 48,388.

Applications for voluntary redundancy are being sought.

Johnston Press operates 13 daily newspapers and more than 230 weeklies throughout the UK, including numerous local newspaper titles in Scotland.

But The Scotsman is arguably the ‘feather in its cap’, purchased eight years ago in a reported £160 million deal of The Scotsman Publications Ltd.

Says a memo to staff from the papers’ managing director, Stuart Birkett: “Following an organisational review, The Scotsman Publications Ltd is proposing a restructure which could result in a reduction of staff within the editorial department. The aim of these proposals is to improve operating efficiency, whilst maintaining the company’s competitive position in the market.

|The proposals are based around placing The Scotsman back at the heart of Scottish civic society, making it once again Scotland’s ultimate print and digital niche product. A key part in achieving this is the launch of a ‘Friends of The Scotsman’ scheme.”

Said Paul Holleran, Scottish Organiser of the National Union of Journalists: “There is an initial shock at the scale of the savings that are required. The difference between this round of cuts, and previous ones, appears to be that they have a strategy for a new structure and a new direction for The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday. While concerned about the scale of the proposed cuts, we welcome an invite from management to be involved in the restructuring discussions, which will of course include trying to avoid any compulsory redundancies.”