Scotland on Sunday expected to be switched from broadsheet to compact

SCOTLAND on Sunday newspaper could be switched from broadsheet to compact in size as early as January, as part of cost-cutting by publishers, Johnston Press.

Applications for voluntary redundancy across the whole of the Johnston Press operation were invited until Thursday last week, and it is believed 80 have been received from the publisher’s Scottish titles, which includes several local newspapers.

But a decision on how many applications will be accepted has still to be made.

While SoS moving from broadsheet to compact is understood to be pretty much a certainty, claims that The Scotsman might be reduced by eight pages, daily, are believed to be more fanciful.

The Scotsman has been compact size for several years and it is now commonplace for journalists to be working across both The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday.

A staff meeting today, involving editor-in-chief of both titles, Ian Stewart, sparked another round of speculation amid the uncertainty of not knowing how many, if any, applications for voluntary redundancy will be accepted. Today, the prospect was raised of Scotland on Sunday’s magazine, Spectrum, perhaps having to be reconfigured, and ditto The Scotsman’s Saturday magazine, Weekend Life (folded into the main paper, so the main paper will have more pages, and joined by a stand-alone TV guide)

Also being considered, understands, is a reduction in the number of editions – from three to two – of both The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday, which would require less night production resources.

Successful applicants for voluntary redundancy might be gone by the start of January. But until exact numbers are known, there remains several options on how best to proceed – while trying to reconcile a desire to maintain quality, the need to cut costs and to minimise the effect on the remaining staff of those going.

It is further understood that the cost-cutting and subsequent juggling of resources and production demands – against a backdrop of declining sales, typical of the whole newspaper industry – will avoid the need for any compulsory redundancies.