New editor

Salmond named first female to edit The Herald

Catherine Salmond is to become the first female editor of The Herald in Glasgow in its 239 year history.

Ms Salmond, no relation to the former First Minister, pictured, takes over from Donald Martin, who has already left and was also editor of the paper’s Sunday title.

Her appointment follows the promotion of Callum Baird from editor of The National to become editor-in-chief, revealed by Daily Business last month.

A former Fife Free Press reporter, Ms Salmond held senior roles at the Edinburgh-based paper’s sister titles The Scotsman and Edinburgh Evening News before becoming editor of Scotland on Sunday just last summer. She said at the time she was “determined to return this title [SoS] to its former standing”, a task that will now await her successor. By the end of last year the over-the-counter sale of SoS had fallen to just over 4,000.

She arrives at the Newsquest-owned Glasgow title amid a fanfare of social media well-wishers and promising to make similar progress, but just weeks after the cash-strapped group was drawn into a conflict with its staff over the latest round of redundancies.

In April, Newsquest, which has a US parent, blamed the cost-of-living crisis and coronavirus pandemic for its plan to axe its entire team of six feature writers. The move prompted a threat of strike action at the paper and two of its sister titles.

The company said it made the move as a result of the “irreversible impact” of the pandemic on newspaper sales, with the cost-of-living crisis also affecting both subscriptions and one-off sales.

Ahead of his departure, Mr Martin wrote in a memo to staff: “Our own cost base, including newsprint and energy costs, has also risen substantially and our current circulation and digital subscription revenues are below expected levels – limiting our ability to offset additional revenues against increased costs.

The Herald

“It is imperative, therefore, that we realign our content to stem this decline as much as we can and minimise the cost base to protect the profitability of the business.”

The National Union of Journalists claimed there was insufficient investment in its online operations to counter the slump in print sales. “Due to the incredibly high turnaround of digital staff, there is a lack of a coherent digital strategy,” it said.

Unbowed by internal cost pressures, Ms Salmond said: “I am honoured to be joining The Herald and am confident this new chapter in its rich history will be an exciting one.

“I will lead with passion and firmness, championing the title and its staff, while ensuring we offer the robust, incisive, and energetic journalism expected online and in print from what is one of Scotland’s great news brands.

“We are all aware of the pressures facing our industry, but The Herald is well placed to meet them head on, with a talented, determined, and forward-thinking team. I am excited about what we will achieve together.”

Mr Baird added: “The recruitment process for this role was thorough and inspiring.

“We spoke to a large number of high calibre candidates – as you might expect for what is one of the biggest jobs in Scottish journalism.

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“It was clear that Catherine’s ambition for the title matched our own and we look forward to seeing how she can work with the team to deliver her vision.

“One thing that everybody we have spoken to agreed with us on was The Herald’s endurable power, potential and talent, and we’re excited to see what comes next.”

Mr Martin left after more than 30 years editing various titles across the UK.

David Ward, managing director of Newsquest Scotland, said: “Throughout the recruitment process Catherine demonstrated a very clear vision for the future of The Herald, the strength of the brand and the opportunity to build on our multimedia plans.

“Catherine’s skillset and standing within the industry in Scotland will position us well over the coming years and we look forward to working with and supporting Catherine as she strives to create and commission thoughtful, engaging content across a range of media channels.”

Other media moves

Rosemary Gallagher has left Beeline PR in Edinburgh, which she joined as a director 10 months ago, to become head of commercial content (Scotland) at The Scotsman.

Ms Gallagher is a former personal finance editor at the paper.

Scott White, who has been on a contract with M&G Wealth for over two years, has been confirmed as full-time communications officer. He previously worked at Aegon, Standard Life, Prudential, Royal London, Legal & General, Martin Currie and the Lang Cat.

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