Ninety editorial jobs have been earmarked for redundancy at the Daily Record and Sunday Mail – well over a third of the papers' editorial total.
In a statement issued by the papers' publishers, Trinity Mirror, the proposed redundancies are part of a “next stage … technology-led development which will result in the creation of one of the most technologically advanced and operationally efficient digital newsrooms in Europe”.
The statement continues: “These plans will allow the Daily Record and Sunday Mail to increase their focus on high-quality Scottish news and Scottish sport, with an editorial structure fit for purpose in this fast moving multimedia publishing environment.
“The wide-ranging proposals take advantage of the company’s ongoing investment in the ContentWatch editorial system which streamlines the production process and facilitates online publishing.”
The editor-in-chief, Bruce Waddell, is quoted, saying: “In common with all newspapers, the Daily Record and Sunday Mail are not immune from the current difficult economic conditions and our industry is experiencing unprecedented structural change.
“We have to constantly review and adapt the way we work to harness the opportunities available to us.
“Ultimately, our plan will retain what the Daily Record and Sunday Mail does best – the generation and production of brilliant Scottish news and sports – while safeguarding their future success for generations to come.”
The statement continues, by saying the plans plans include: “1. A new editorial structure. Live content and advance content will become a combined unit where the entire focus will be on providing the best Scottish stories and features.
“2. The sharing of non-Scottish features and news with sister titles the Mirror, Sunday Mirror and The People.
“3. Outsourcing the design and subbing of some features and magazine pages to a bespoke Daily Record/Sunday Mail unit at the Press Association.”
As the statement says, the magazines section is heading south, to the Press Association.
In total, some 150 journalists are expected to be left. It's understood the writing pool is being cut from around 50 to 27, the number of photographers from 11 to three, the image desk from eight to five and the multimedia desk from 22 to 12. Sport is believed to be remaining intact.
In a statement, the National Union of Journalists says its officials are to have urgent talks with Daily Record management representatives tomorrow about “the shock news”.
It quotes, NUJ Scottish Organiser Paul Holleran, saying: “We are absolutely shocked and stunned at the news. We are meeting with management tomorrow to discuss their proposals for handling the cuts and suggesting alternatives.
“We will be arguing such a savage cut in jobs would be destructive for the future of the Daily Record and Sunday Mail in Scotland and arguing that the company should reconsider.
“The company’s proposals would mean a significant number of editorial jobs would be taken out of Scotland and this would impact on the Daily Record and Sunday Mail’s unique Scottish identity.
“The loss of such a high volume of jobs to journalism in Scotland is totally unacceptable.”
It was Waddell who delivered the news, on the editorial floor. The feeling on the floor has been described by one insider as one of “utter devastation”.
Another can't remember a cull of jobs on such a large scale in the Scottish newspaper industry in decades.
Listen to Paul Holleran, here. He speculates the move suggests an attempt to turn the Daily Record into a regional edition of The Mirror. He said there is already talk among staff of an occupation of the papers' Central Quay HQ. He added it is his belief that Trinity Mirror “is not a poor company”.
A mass meeting of NUJ members is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. It seems the NUJ was given little, if any, prior warning of the extent of the proposed cut.