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Johnston Press 'reorganising'

More job losses likely at Scotsman in cost-cutting

ScotsmanThe Scotsman newspaper is expected to suffer yet another round of job cuts as owner Johnston Press looks to further reduce costs.

The London-based company is thought to be looking for 32 redundancies in Scotland, according to the National Union of Journalists.

A memo, written by editor-in-chief Jeremy Clifford, said: “We’re reviewing the structures within every newsroom, considering if we are best placed to deliver the content to our audiences in the fastest, most efficient way, and if not, identifying how we need to organise ourselves better.

“We need to consider if we have we got the right mix of managers, writers and those who curate and collate content from our communities.

“Other considerations include looking at the print portfolio, and have we got the websites most appropriate for our markets.

“We expect the review of our newsroom structures will lead to a reorganisation for some of our teams as well. In some cases that will mean a reduction in team sizes.

“We have identified a number of areas where job reductions will come from and how that may affect different teams directly.

“Later today a number of announcements will be made about some of those proposals.

“These will set out our intention but it will take some time to work out the detail of those changes and how we want our organisations to operate in future.”

NUJ Scotland national organiser Paul Holleran said: “It would be an understatement to say that journalists across Johnston Press are shocked at this latest round of job cuts.

“The NUJ will work with local management to mitigate the redundancies and their impact on the quality of titles but we are seriously concerned at this announcement.”

The cutback is the latest in a series of job-slashing measures at the company. Ashley Highfield, the chief executive of Johnston Press, received a total pay and bonus package of £1.65 million last year, including a £645,000 bonus.

His reward was more than three times the £592,000 he received a year earlier and included a pay rise of 7.5%.

The move by JP comes just days after Newsquest announced it would be cutting 25 jobs at the Herald and Times titles in Glasgow.

> Dundee-based DC Thomson , publisher of the Sunday Post, Aberdeen Press & Journal and Dundee Courier, has posted a 20% rise in profits, as cost cutting in print and distribution together cover price increases compensated for a drop in newspaper advertising revenue.

The group made a pre-tax profit of just over £30m for the year to the end of March on revenue of nearly £245m.

Cover price increases resulted in a 1.9% increase in revenue from newspapers. Magazine sales were 4.3% lower but showed “higher overall profitability”.

The group’s newspapers saw a 6.4% fall in advertising revenue while magazines (excluding Shortlist) achieved an increase of 8.2%. Digital revenues increased by 26%.

In a statement filed to Companies House, the company said: “Our newspaper and magazine businesses are relatively stable and performing very well in relation to our peers and competitors.

“Growth in digital revenues through new websites and other new lines of business such as events is expected to help further support continuing conventional revenues.

“Whilst we expect our traditional business to continue to prosper we are committed to finding new products and markets.”

It added: “Whilst we have belief in the longer-term future of the core business, the challenges in publishing mean that we are working on brand extensions and other initiatives to support these businesses.”

Directors recommended a final dividend for shareholders of more than £14.8m, bringing the total for the year to almost £19.2m.



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