Although he was in the Glasgow HQ of the paper most of last week, he gets properly into harness from Nov 12.
I had the good fortune to meet Andy over the weekend in London and shot the breeze over quite a few drinks. The good news for everyone at the good ship Daily Record is that he is a top bloke – as a well as a top news man.
Waiting for a new boss to start will be a bit nervy for Record journalists, wondering what to expect. Refreshingly, Andy admitted that he has also got a major case of the first day butterflies.
And no wonder. It’s a big – and at times thankless – job he is taking on. The Record enjoyed decades of dominance as Scotland’s biggest paper by a country mile. It wasn’t that long ago it outsold ALL of its rivals cobmined. Now, rather sadly, it is being consistently outsold by the Scottish Sun, which has a fraction of the staff.
But the Record hasn’t jsut lost readers. It’s also lost the faith of many of its most important suppliers – the network of press agencies and freelances who provide it with many of its stories. There is a perceptionthat the Record still conducts itself with all the swagger – some would call it arrogance – of yesteryear. That was easy to put up with when the Record’s circulation – and payments – sugared the pill. But the truth is the Record no longer has the financial clout to call the shots as it used to.
Andy spent Saturday night with the National Association of Press Agencies – what could have been a trip into the lion’s den. Happily that’s not how it panned out. Before taking up the Record job, Andy spent almost two years as a freelance, so is sympathetic to the issues they face.
Meanwhile the staff at the Record can rest assured they are getting a boss they’re going to enjoy working for and the readers will hopefully see the benefits. The only people who should really be nervous are the staff at The Scottish Sun. Maybe they’re not going to get it all their own way for much longer in the ferocious tabloid circulation war.