Sport desks are set to shrink at three of Scotland’s biggest news operations as cost-cutting continues across the UK news industry.
A total of around eleven writers and sub-editors look likely to be leaving the sport teams at the Daily Record, Scottish Daily Mail and The Scotsman as a result of redundancies.
Press Gazette has been told the three journalists affected have more than 60 years of experience between them.
If the cuts go ahead, it will mean the newspaper has one dedicated football writer, one for rugby and one for golf, Press Gazette understands.
At the Scottish Daily Mail, the publisher is continuing an ongoing process of bringing its daily and Sunday Mail titles and its print and digital teams all closer together.
Press Gazette understands four of seven full-time sport writers are at risk of redundancy alongside three sport sub-editors. A number of news journalists are also understood to be at risk.
It follows the departure of four London-based senior sport journalists from the Mail on Sunday in October, including sport editor Mike Richards, chief football correspondent Rob Draper and chief sport news correspondent Nick Harris.
In September 2022 the Daily Mail and Mail Online in London began collaborating in a significant way for the first time, ending duplication in their output, and six months later there were dozens of redundancies as the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday were brought “much closer together”.
Just under a year ago The Times Scotland and Sunday Times Scotland similarly became a single seven-day operation.
Two sport writers left the Daily Record this month as part of parent company Reach‘s latest company-wide redundancy round.
Reach announced in November that 450 jobs would be cut, of which 320 were expected to be in editorial, as a result of “continuing pressures on the business” including falling news media ad revenue and declining referral traffic from Google and Facebook.
The Daily Record’s chief sport feature writer David McCarthy has already announced his departure after 29 years. He wrote: “…I’m hanging up on a career dominated by deadlines and headlines and whatever follows isn’t going to have the adrenaline rush of ripping up a 1000 word match report when a last minute goal changes everything, but I can live with that.”
The Daily Record continues to have around six sport writers plus a live sport desk of about a further six people, while Reach also runs the Football Scotland website with an editorial staff of three.
‘Inexplicable’ to lose Scotland sport journalists in Euros and Olympics year
Nick McGowan-Lowe, national organiser for Scotland at the National Union of Journalists, told Press Gazette: “Anyone understanding Scotland knows that sport is one of Scotland’s greatest cultural assets and a sense of immense local pride and identity.
“It’s inexplicable that in a year of the Euros and the Olympics that publishers at Reach, National World and the Daily Mail have decided the way to engage Scottish readers is by cutting the jobs of the very skilled and experienced writers who have provided valuable and popular Scottish sport coverage.
“The three football writers placed at risk at The Scotsman alone represent over 60 years of experience between them.”
Press Gazette analysis has found at least 650 job cuts in the UK, Ireland and US journalism industries so far since the start of 2024.
Reach and Daily Mail publisher DMGT declined to comment. National World did not respond to a request for comment.
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