NUJ has welcomed Business Secretary Lord Mandelson’s decision not to permit Daily Mail and General Trust to abolish an independent editorial board for the Nottingham Evening Post and says it "vigorously" opposed the move. When the Evening Post was bought by Northcliffe Newspapers in 1993 in a £93 million deal from T. Bailey Forman a condition was imposed that it should maintain an independent editorial board to oversee key decisions.The
The board was charged with maintaining the paper's editorial independence and having the final say on the appointment or dismissal of the paper's editor.
However the board now considers its role obsolete and its chairman, former airline boss Sir Michael Bishop, suggested to Northcliffe's parent company Daily Mail and General Trust that it should be disbanded. The Department of Business Innovation and Skills invited comments.
The NUJ says it opposed the proposal "vigorously", and the union’s Nottingham branch expressed concerns about editing functions at the Nottingham Evening Post being combined with those for other Northcliffe titles in the East Midlands region, and also voiced deep unease about the threat to jobs. The union also warned that the newspaper and other Northcliffe-owned local titles could lose their individual identity in favour of Northcliffe corporate branding
Lord Mandelson has declared: “The interest of ensuring people have access to a sufficiently wide range of views and opinions on both local and national matters and preventing too much influence becoming concentrated in too few hands remain legitimate concerns for the Government. The original purpose behind requiring an independent editorial board for the NEP related to the desirability of ensuring the editor of that title remained free to take editorial decisions independent of the title’s new owner, Northcliffe. Those concerns remain relevant.”