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Journalists face axe in Scotland and South Yorkshire

Around 30 editorial, sales and distribution jobs are under threat at The Scotsman Publications as a result of a shake-up at its Edinburgh centre.

Major changes to editorial production and newsdesk administration are planned at the centre, which publishes The Scotsman, Edinburgh Evening News and Scotland on Sunday.

In a separate move, HoldtheFrontPage has learned that two long-serving journalists at Sheffield’s Star are being made compulsorily redundant as part of a round of cuts announced to staff yesterday.

The paper’s chief photographer Dennis Lound and Profile magazine editor John Highfield are to leave the company within the next fortnight, while bosses are seeking further voluntary redundancies among the production staff.

Both the Star and Scotsman Publications are owned by Johnston Press which last week announced plans to move JP’s two Northants evening titles to morning publication, putting more than 70 printing, distribution and editorial jobs at risk.

There are fears among journalists that the current spate of job losses could now spread further within the company.

The Sheffield moves have shocked journalists at the evening title who were due to discuss their next year’s pay claim with managers tomorrow.

NUJ mother-of-chapel Julia Armstrong said the union, which represents 80pc of journalists at the South Yorkshire title, will fight the plans.

“We were in the middle of pay talks and were due to have a meeting about that on Thursday but now the redundancy situation will be top of the agenda,” she said.

“We will fight this because we can’t really see how they can afford to lose these jobs. We are close to the bone as it is.”

Production staff have been told that if any of them want to volunteer for redundancy, managers will consider it.

Star editor Alan Powell was contacted by HoldtheFrontPage about the job losses yesterday but was not available for comment.

In a company statement, Johnston Press maintained the Scottish proposals would improve operating efficiency whilst maintaining the company’s competitive position in the market.

As well as editorial production and newsdesk administration, the shake-up affects classified advertising sales, display advertising administration, advertising supplements and special reports, newspaper sales merchandising and distribution supervision, pre-press and IT.

“Regretfully, the proposals put at risk of redundancy up to 30 posts in these areas and we have started the consultation process directly with those affected, as well as through their representatives,” said the statement.

“Every effort will be made to minimise the impact of these proposals on those at risk of redundancy, including voluntary severance and redeployment.”

Comments

Dave Colville (06/08/2008 10:26:17)
I was going to comment but I have to send four pages to our new pre-press department in Malaysia!!!!

Chris Pervish (06/08/2008 10:32:55)
What’s the dialling code for Mumbai? I need to get hold of IT.

David White (06/08/2008 20:24:37)
If, as reported, Star editor Alan Powell was contacted by HoldtheFrontPage, presumably he WAS available to comment but, for whatever reason, declined to do so.

Dr. James Wilkie (06/08/2008 20:31:38)
I am not in the least surprised if the Scotsman group in Edinburgh are running into financial difficulties. This is a result of a miserable editorial policy that involves swimming against the tide of current developments. There is a total lack of vision and indeed ability to analyse the major trends that are shaping contemporary Scotland. Its journalists demonstrate a lack of knowledge of the country as well as its social and cultural life. It has become a mouthpiece for a political force that is well on the way out. As far as I can see only a drastic filleting of the top business and editorial management is likely to save the situation.

Kenny Smith (07/08/2008 17:24:13)
Well you know what they say Doc, you can’t please all of the people all of the time thats what makes us a great country, long time before you fear redundancy though eh.

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