Telegraph City merger: No separate Sunday team

The new head of the Telegraph’s merged Sunday, daily and web business desk, Damian Reece, has said there will no longer be a distinction between daily and Sunday journalists in his department.

He said the only exception to the rule was newly appointed Sunday Telegraph City editor Mark Kleinman, whose job it is to ensure the Sunday retains its identity.

‘We’ve ended the distinction, with the exception of the City editor, between having one group of people labelled Sunday who can only file for Sunday; like everyone else they can file for all three,’Reece said.

Patience Wheatcroft resigned as editor of The Sunday Telegraph in September amid rumours that she opposed the closer integration of the daily and Sunday titles.

NUJ father of chapel John Carey said this week that the union was particularly concerned about whether The Sunday Telegraph will remain distinctive from the daily paper.

But Reece said: ‘It is in Mark Kleinman’s interests and my interests that he delivers a very distinctive product for the Sunday. He will be the champion for The Sunday Telegraph but will work closely with the executive editor as a way of making sure the Sunday gets what it needs to be distinctive. He will make sure he has reporters chasing news exclusively for Sunday, he will make sure he’s got people writing features exclusively for Sunday.

‘By integrating the Sunday and daily teams we will be able to have one enlarged resource which we can direct to the Sunday, daily and website as we see fit.”

Telegraph FoC Carey said: ‘Our concerns have always been what these changes mean in terms of preserving journalistic standards and maintaining the distinctive nature and quality of The Sunday Telegraph.

‘Clearly this move is specifically for City, but as part of a general trend we are extremely concerned about what the future is for The Sunday Telegraph.’

The company said shifts will remain the same, with journalists being expected to work one weekend day every four weeks. The integration process will be reviewed and evaluated after 10 December.

Reece said: ‘I take the livelihood of my journalists very, very seriously. We will make sure that if people are asked to do something for the Sunday they are given the time to do that and they won’t be distracted by other demands, so their workload is not increased and, more importantly, they deliver the quality.

‘Big stories break, which requires some people to work late some evenings, and different people will be filing for the Sunday paper each week, and that will mean some late working for those people – but filing for a daily means late working. If people are working extraordinary hours… they are given time off in lieu.”

A spokesman for the company said: ‘There is absolutely no question of introducing a seven-day Telegraph operation. Our two titles have complete editorial independence and quite separate identities, and will continue to do so. We are always looking to improve the ways we produce our papers and our online output. Any proposed changes in this regard are always discussed first with our staff. There are no such ongoing discussions.”

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