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Can Trinity Mirror's grand plan really work North of the Border?

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By Noel Young, Correspondent

December 7, 2011 | 3 min read

Noel Young, a former editor of the Sunday Mail, asks if Trinity Mirror really has found a light at the end of the tunnel

Once Scotland's top two

We occupied the high ground. Looking down on the rest of the Scottish media from our lofty perch on the ninth floor of Anderston Quay , we were pretty proud of ourselves.

The Daily Record, packed with car ads and a sale of more than 750,000 and the Sunday Mail, selling 900,000 at its high point, bankrolled the rest of Mirror Group, as we told anyone who would care to listen (not that our salaries reflected that).

So what to make of the Record now? The irony is that, at a time when more then ever Scotland needs a gutsy and self-confident Scottish national newspaper, the shell-shocked Record, stripped of its personality and the Sunday Mail, a shadow of its former self, seem ill-equipped to pick up the cudgels.

I hope I am wrong. I know the newspaper business has to remake itself to take account of current reaiities.

I do not know what Allan Rennie and Mark Hollinshead have in mind. The Mirror magic wand hasn't done much for the Mirror, a five-million seller in the not-so distant past.

I have also seen what the Daily Mail has achieved today with its well-judged editorial and its willingness to invest in the product. I like to to think that Lord Rothermere took some of his inspiration from his time working under Murdoch MacLennan at the who-can-stop-us Record .

Yet Trinity Mirror, of all the newspaper groups, still has vast journalistic resources. How they are deployed may be the key to survival. As the company says, Media Scotland - the combined Scottish Daily Record and Sunday Mail and Scottish and Universal Newspapers - will be Scotland's biggest publishing business.

With this great staff base, can it pull off the miracle of reinvigorating the Daily Record and Sunday Mail and putting a jolt into its local titles ? Mark Hollinshead says it will be "the start of a dynamic new era in Scottish media" and " the combined reach of our portfolio of print and digital brands will deliver unrivalled coverage across the Scottish market."

In the rest of the UK, Trinity Mirror also has the nation's most powerful powerful core of local journalists working in many centres - as well as its separate and distinct Mirror Group papers in London. Staff there will be watching the Scottish experiment with great interest. I hope it works.

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