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Salmond attacks 'extraordinary level' of Daily Record and Sunday Mail cuts

8 June 2011

Scotland's First Minister has questioned "the extraordinary level of redundancies being contemplated at the Daily Record and Sunday Mail". Answering an emergency question at the Scottish Parliament, Alex Salmond described the Daily Record as "a hugely important institution in Scottish public life". 

Alex Salmond said he hoped MSPs of all parties would want to see the Daily Record and Sunday Mail "provide comprehensive coverage of Scottish affairs."

NUJ officials have been holding urgent talks with Daily Record management representatives following the shock announcement that up to 90 editorial jobs could go as part of a restructuring exercise.

Other members of the Scottish Parliament have also criticised the management threat to jobs at the Mirror Group titles. Sandra White of the SNP tabled the emergency parliamentary question seeking a meeting with a minister in the Scottish government to discuss the impact of the job cuts on coverage of Scottish politics and social affairs.

Michael McMahon, backbench Labour MSP, said that management had "misjudged the importance of quality journalism" in Scotland's public life. He said the correct solution to the current financial difficulties in the newspaper sector was to "improve the quality of their journalism, not drive standards down."

"Anything that dilutes the ability of serious journalists to investigate the news is very concerning."

The two Glasgow-based titles have historically supported the Labour Party, but senior figures in the rival Scottish National Party have joned calls for management to reconsider the cuts.

Stewart Maxwell MSP, who sits on the Scottish Parliament's Culture Committee, described the decision to cut journalists jobs by almost half as "bizarre". He told the NUJ:

"My great fear is that the company is attempting to turn the Daily Record into a Daily Mirror with a Scottish stamp. That is a shocking and retrograde decision, especially at a time when there is such a different political agenda in Scotland."

Paul Holleran, NUJ Scottish organiser, discussed the threatened cuts on BBC Radio Scotland's Newsdrive programme.

Journalists were told at a mass meeting on Wednesday that some 90 jobs could go, almost half of all journalists at the Daily Record and Sunday Mail.

It is understood the company is planning to outsource subbing of features pages to the Press Association in Howden, Yorkshire, to merge the news and features departments and to rely on the Mirror in London for national, international and showbiz news.

Paul Holleran said:

"We are absolutely shocked and stunned at the news. We are meeting with management tomorrow to discuss their proposals for handling the cuts and suggesting alternatives.
"We will be arguing such a savage cut in jobs would be destructive for the future of the Daily Record and Sunday Mail in Scotland and arguing that the company should reconsider.
"The company's proposals would mean a significant number of editorial jobs would be taken out of Scotland and this would impact on the Daily Record and Sunday Mail's unique Scottish identity.
"The loss of such a high volume of jobs to journalism in Scotland is totally unacceptable."

Tags: , trinity mirror, daily record, sunday mail, newspapers, regional newspapers, cuts, redundancies, snp, government scotland, labour party britain