The Independent reports today that up until 1992 the Manchester Evening News had similar protection under the terms of the Scott Trust that The Guardian still enjoys.
The sell-off by Guardian Media Group of its regional newspaper business earlier this month was done to ensure the continued survival of the journalism of The Guardian “in perpetuity”, as the Scott Trust – which owns GMG – insists.
But the Independent notes today that the original deeds of the Scott Trust from 1936 also extended this duty of care to the MEN. The Indy says that the MEN was only removed from the trust’s responsibility when its rules were re-written in 1992 following the purchase of The Observer.
The MEN has been closely linked to the Manchester Guardian, and then The Guardian, for some 140 years. For much of that time the MEN profits bankrolled The Guardian’s losses.
One MEN staffer who spoke to me last week said: “We feel sad and betrayed by what The Guardian have done, but as far as we are concerned The Guardian is history and we are moving on to a new future.”
New owners Trinity Mirror are currently proposing to relocate the MEN, and its associated weeklies, outside the city centre of Manchester to Oldham.
Staff are having weekly meetings lead by finance director chief operating officer David Sharrock, who is to be managing director of the business under new owners Trinity Mirror.
Although there are obvious concerns over more job cuts, one MEN insider told me: “We feel there is no fat left to cut after the heavy job cuts we had last year. We are an extremely lean and efficient machine and we are already back in profit. We are hopeful that when Trinity Mirror have had a close look at what we are doing they will find there is a lot that their other businesses can learn from us.”