Quality and workload fears raised at Edinburgh Evening News

FEARS for the quality of the Edinburgh Evening News – and the workload on staff – have been raised following an announcement by its publishers to centralise part of the design and sub-editing for each of its local newspapers in Scotland and Ireland.

The plan – reported yesterday – will require local newspaper reporters to file directly into a template, insodoing carrying out some of the functions normally associated with production staff.

Meanwhile, about 20 per cent of each paper will be non-template, involving a dialogue between the editor at each of the papers affected and a centralised design and sub-editing hub based at the Edinburgh HQ of publishers, Johnston Press, which doubles up as home to the Edinburgh Evening News – and also The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday.

Around 60 titles are understood to be involved.

The fear is that, not only will the Edinburgh Evening News look different to what it is currently – having been allocated a template – but that the large majority of its production staff will be moved across to operate the centralised hub, leaving the title with much-reduced dedicated resources to physically put out a newspaper.

Another concern is the timescale: the plan is to have the hub in place by the tenth of next month, at the height of the various festivals taking place in Edinburgh and when many people would like to be taking holiday.

The fears have been expressed by staff within the building.

allmediascotland.com shared the concerns with Paul Holleran, the Scottish Organiser of the NUJ, who said: “Those exact fears have been raised with me. I am aware of a number of concerns among staff and am in the process of writing to management to discuss the proposals and their possible implications.”

Johnston Press declined to comment.