Scotland business

Herald and Times Group announces further job losses

Herald front page

Up to 25 editorial jobs are to be axed from the Newsquest-owned Herald and Times newspaper group.

The move marks the fourth round of redundancies at the group in just over a year.

Staff at its Glasgow-based titles were informed of the planned cuts by management on Wednesday.

The group said the move was aimed at ensuring "the long-term sustainability of the business" in the face of "challenging" trading conditions.

The latest cuts follow 20 job losses announced by Newsquest in August.

At the time, it said savings were needed to safeguard the business amid a period of "substantial weakness" in advertising revenue.

About 100 journalists are thought to remain at the Glasgow-based stable of publications, which include The Herald, Sunday Herald, Evening Times and The National.

'Unrealistic profit targets'

The group's managing director, Graham Morrison, said: "The Herald and Times Group, in line with industry-wide trends, continues to face challenging trading conditions.

"Digital advertising and subscription revenues are continuing to rise and we are exploring other avenues for income growth to offset the declines in other areas.

"But it is paramount the company continues to closely control costs, so today we are announcing measures to ensure the long-term sustainability of the business.

"Key areas such as contributor costs and expenses will be affected but we need to make greater savings than these areas can accommodate.

"Therefore we propose a reduction of around 20 to 25 roles in editorial."

The main savings are expected from cuts in editorial management, sport, arts, features, multimedia and content management.

Mr Morrison added: "We very much regret that we have to take this action but we aim to maintain the most competitive editorial operation and the proposed restructure includes the creation of new roles to drive our digital ambitions which positions us strongly for the future."

'Unrealistic profit targets'

NUJ Scotland national organiser Paul Holleran, said: "This is not a clever way of running a publishing company and there is a serious risk to future of the newspapers in this stable.

"We are concerned that a further reduction in quality is inevitable as talented journalists lose their jobs and those remaining struggle with an increasing workload to gather and produce news and features that help sell the product.

"Newsquest executives and board members need to take a new look at the way they are running the business.

"Pursuing unrealistic profit targets by constantly making cuts instead of innovative growth of the business is not sustainable in the long term.

"There now are less than half the journalists employed at The Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times compared to when Newsquest took over this historic Scottish publisher."

Newsquest's owners Gannett UK acquired the titles in 2003 as part of a £216m deal with the Scottish Media Group.

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