The National Union of Journalists has expressed concern at reports today suggesting that there might be a delay in the signing of contracts aimed at filling the news slots operated by STV with content produced by an external consortium of newspaper publishers and a TV production company – and funded out of the public purse.
As reported in today's Media in the Press, the consortium – comprising Johnston Press, Herald & Times Group and DC Thomson, plus TV production company, Tinopolis – has been chosen as the preferred bidder of a TV news pilot, to operate in Scotland on channel 3 and funded by the UK Government.
But it seems contracts will not be signed until after the 16th of next month – well into the expected General Election campaign and raising the possibility of not being signed at all before voters elect the next UK Government. As it is, the Tories have signalled they are against the pilot being set up at all, including replicas scheduled for Wales and Tyne Tees/Border.
Says the NUJ's Scottish Organiser, Paul Holleran: “On one hand we do not want contracts signed without contractual assurances on the continuing terms and conditions of our members at STV; but this delay could jeopardise the whole project and put jobs at risk if the Tories get into power and stop the funding.”