Sunday Times staff are reportedly worried after receiving an email from Sunday Times editor Martin Ivens notifying them that he is seeking to change the “legal undertakings that protect the independence of The Times and The Sunday Times.”
In the email he writes that “both I and John Witherow, editor of The Times, want to request more flexibility so that we can share some resources across the two papers.” Sharing resources is usually code for job cuts…
Read the email in full here:
We have made an application to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) for a small change to be made to the legal undertakings that protect the independence of The Times and The Sunday Times. These were put in place in 1981 when News acquired both titles.
Our editorial independence and our existence as separate newspapers will not change, but the persistent cost pressures facing our industry mean that both I and John Witherow, editor of The Times, want to request more flexibility so that we can share some resources across the two papers.
We would like the freedom and ability to work more closely so that we avoid unnecessary duplication. We need to stay competitive in an increasingly difficult market where many of our rivals are more streamlined.
To be clear, we will maintain our distinctive voices in key areas and any future changes will need both editors to agree.
Today the DCMS will issue an invitation to comment (ITC) and then the secretary of state will consider the request, so we cannot advise further at this stage but we will communicate more when we can. Both of us want to protect the unique character of our newspapers and ensure a sustainable future for your journalism.
There will be a short meeting around the backbench at 4pm today. If you are not in the office in London this afternoon, a short summary will be published on the intranet.