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Newspapers lose ‘wealth of experience’ as nine voluntary redundancies announced

Donald Martin 2An editor has expressed his sadness at the loss of a “wealth of talent and experience” after announcing he had accepted nine applications for voluntary redundancy.

As reported by HTFP last month, staff at Glasgow-based daily The Herald and sister title the Herald on Sunday were invited to apply for redundancy in a bid to avoid compulsory job cuts.

It has now emerged that nine members of staff came forward and editor-in-chief Donald Martin, left, has accepted each of their applications.

In a message to staff, which has been seen by HTFP, Donald also invited internal applications for a number of vacant and newly-created roles in order to help avoid any compulsory redundancies.

Those leaving include an assistant editor, the head of sport, the chief sports writer, two senior feature writers, the social affairs correspondent, the chief reporter, a sub-editor and a business correspondent.

According to the memo, all will leave on 31 December except the business correspondent, who will leave in January.

“Although I will be very sad to lose such a wealth of talent and experience, I much appreciate the gesture they have made as it means we are making significant progress towards achieving the savings required.

“However, to avoid any compulsory redundancies I am looking for some of the new roles proposed in the structure I outlined for The Herald and the Evening Times to be filled internally.”

Donald then listed eight roles on the Herald, its sister title the Evening Times and sister weekly group Clyde and Forth Press, some but not all of which he said would need to be filled internally.

At the time the VR programme was originally announced, Donald said that although the titles had made major savings through recent non-replacement of staff, they remained “significantly short of the level of savings required.”

“There is a very real prospect that there is little alternative but to look at compulsory redundancies across The Herald and Herald on Sunday unless we receive and accept a number of VR applications or requests to reduce hours/days,” he said last month.

A Newsquest Scotland spokesman said: “Consultation is ongoing with the affected staff and we are actively working to avoid compulsory redundancies as much as we possibly can.”


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  • December 10, 2019 at 11:21 am

    It’s sad. But there comes a time when more experienced hands have had enough of the nonsense and take the chance to get out before they lose out. Over to the keen but green.

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  • December 10, 2019 at 11:30 am

    It’s the loss of staff of that calibre and experience across the industry,as well as the most business minded and well connected advertising and commercial staff, that’s hastened the decline of a once mighty and well respected industry.
    As hard working, bright eyed and conscientious as they may be you cannot replace that level of knowledge and ability with inexperienced juniors or the cheaper,easier to manage ones so often chosen

    Good wishes and success to all those taking VR, and remember, in the world outside of the bigger publishing centres,experience and ability is highly valued .

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  • December 10, 2019 at 11:36 am

    “Those leaving include an assistant editor, the head of sport, the chief sports writer, two senior feature writers, the social affairs correspondent, the chief reporter, a sub-editor and a business correspondent”

    You have to wonder just what’s left?

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  • December 10, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    Agree with the comments posted so far. News teams across Newsquest (and probably the industry as a whole) are increasingly losing good numbers of experienced staff who really know their stuff and they don’t seem to be getting adequately replaced. Those leaving aren’t old dinosaurs who have lost all passion for the role, but hard-working people who still have a lot to offer. Yet they have either been forced out or felt they could not stay. When people opt to take voluntary redundancy, in my experience the reasons usually run deeper than simply wanting to accept the money on offer.

    They are going to be missed. I’m not having a pop at the ability of new reporters, who from what I’ve seen are usually keen to learn, are willing to put a good shift in and have plenty of potential. But without older heads in the newsroom who have been there and done it, and who have bulging contacts books that can make a huge difference when it comes to finding the right people to speak to and stories that are worth following up, I do have my concerns they are not being given the journalistic education they both need and deserve. Will Newsquest bosses care? Sadly I suspect not, given it all seems to be judged on how many hits stories get nowadays.

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  • December 11, 2019 at 11:16 am

    Sub it out. I agree entirely about the young reporters. They are keen, bright, and work hard but from an office they are trying to cover stories 30 miles or more from the patch. And you can see by the quality of their copy that they get little on the job training. As one of my old bosses said in introducing a newly qualified young reporter to the worldly mature chief reporter: “Now you can learn to become a journalist.” Is that still happening?

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  • December 11, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    But remember, it’s political ‘newspapers’ that really damage local democracy, eh Newsquest?

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