The Scotsman and Edinburgh Evening News to merge amid latest Johnston Press cuts

Johnston Press Scottish titles the Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and the Edinburgh Evening News are to merge with the loss of up to 45 jobs.

Job risks: Up to 45 jobs could be lost in the merger

The publisher said the move followed a review into how a single editorial team could be created, but it follows a lengthy period of cutbacks amid efforts by the company to deal with a significant debt burden.

All three titles will retain branding and identity and remain stand alone titles, but content will be produced by a single editorial team working across them all.

Current editor of the Scotsman Ian Stewart will move to the newly-created role of editorial director of the Scotsman Publications Ltd, while Frank O’Donnell takes on the role of managing editor.

Stewart said in a statement: “This one team model will enable our editorial team members to work across different titles, delivering quality content and reducing duplication of effort as a result.

“The measures being outlined – which include the opportunity for editorial team members to apply for voluntary redundancy – are proposals at this stage and there will be a full consultation period before final decisions are made.”

The news came as Johnston Press announced a strong performance in digital had increased revenue from the platform, but it failed to halt a continuing decline. In the 16 weeks to 18 October, the publisher reported a 3.1 per cent in total revenues, although the decline had slowed from the 4.3 per cent decline in the first half of the year.

According to the Guardian, up to 45 jobs are at risk.

Chatter about restructuring at the Scotsman emerged last year when it was reported that up to 30 jobs could be at risk as a result of an “organisational review”.

In recent months, Johnston Press has lessened its debt repayment commitments following a £360m refinancing package earlier this year. In addition, BskyB took a 1.6 per cent stake in the company with a £5m investment.

The publisher also recently offloaded its Republic of Ireland titles with a £7.2m sale to Iconic Newspapers, despite paying around £115m to acquire them in 2005.

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