Dame Liz Forgan, chair of the Scott Trust – the body that owns Guardian Media Group – believes that newspaper leader columns should be bylined.
“I have always thought leaders should be signed,” Forgan, a former leader writer herself, said in a video interview with Editorial Intelligence. “I think that it is a very curious convention that leaders are unsigned. If they were all written by the editor that would be understandable. But they’re not: they’re written by a group of people who are professional leader writers, usually.”
She nearly persuaded the Independent’s founding editor Andreas Whittam Smith to break the trend with his new paper, she said: “I nearly won the argument but he chickened out in the end.”
The Manchester Evening News National Union of Journalists Chapel has passed the following motions at a mandatory meeting held today, and sent this email to GMG Regional chief executive, Mark Dodson.
To: Mark Dodson
Cc: Paul Horrocks; Jim Banham; Carolyn McCall; Liz Forgan
Subject: MEN NUJ chapel resolutions
At a very well attended, mandatory meeting earlier today, the MEN NUJ chapel unanimously passed the following resolutions:
This chapel extends its thanks to the Guardian/Observer chapels for their declared support;
This chapel deplores the company’s refusal to invoke a 90-day consultation period which could have been used usefully to explore other options and urges it to think again;
This chapel declares it has no confidence in the Scott Trust or the GMG board;
This chapel believes that Dame Liz Forgan, in her role as chair of the Scott Trust, has a moral duty and responsibility to speak to journalists at the MEN and its weekly newspapers and those at Surrey and Berkshire about how these devastating jobs cuts chime with Trust values BEFORE they are implemented;
This chapel supports the weekly newspaper chapels in their decisions and pledges to support them;
This chapel agrees to ballot for industrial action, up to and including strike action;
This chapel reiterates its willingness to meet management at any time to talk with a view to resolving the current problems.
A letter from the Manchester Evening News National Union of Journalists chapel to GMG Regional Media chief executive, Mark Dodson, following yesterday’s announcements.
At a lengthy and very well-attended MEN NUJ Chapel meeting earlier today, members unanimously passed the following:
“The Chapel utterly condemns this week’s announcements of sweeping job at the MEN, our Greater Manchester weekly newspapers and the
group’s publications in Surrey and Berkshire and believes they will have a devastating effect on local democracy and regional journalism.
We also condemn the redundancies inflicted on other sectors of our business.
The Chapel rejects absolutely any compulsory journalistic redundancies, which are especially unpalatable at a time when the organisation is still making a profit. The total number of proposed redundancies is unjustifiable and unsustainable. We demand an early explanation of how you envisage a future MEN/weeklies newsroom will work.
Management should be under no illusion that we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our colleagues. We will be meeting again shortly to discuss our next steps.
However, since it is clear that these executive decisions have been demanded by the GMG board and sanctioned by the Scott Trust, we request that Dame Liz Forgan and her fellow trustees come to Manchester as soon as possible to speak to us.”