The Guardian and The Observer newspapers are set to axe up to 10 per cent of their journalists, as the group looks to combat plummeting revenues brought on by the worst advertising recession in living memory.
Guardian News & Media Group, which publishes the newspapers, briefed staff yesterday that more than 100 jobs would be cut from its editorial and commercial departments. This comes just a day after announcing The Observer was to be overhauled with three of its magazines closed.
The moves follow a strategic review of the business launched at the beginning of the summer.
Alan Rusbridger, the editor of The Guardian, said that each department of GNM, including editorial, could cut its headcount between 8 per cent and 10 per cent. "Nine out of 10 people will still be here at the end of the review," he added. Sources at the newspapers said some journalists have already been called in by their bosses and warned their position was at risk.
The group reopened a voluntary redundancy programme for editorial staff last month, which will remain open until the end of the year.
It would not be more specific on the number of cuts until they found out how many had applied. Tim Brooks, GNM's managing director, said: "Until the deadline for requesting redundancy has passed we cannot offer clarity about who is leaving and who is redeploying," but added: "All of us should bear in mind that at the end of that process the vast majority of staff will still be working here." The group employs about 850 editorial staff, and 68 journalists have already left this year. It will also cut the Thursday technology supplement, which will be moved exclusively online as Mr Brooks revealed that revenues at GNM had fallen by £33m, which was higher than expected.
Carolyn McCall, the chief executive of parent company Guardian Media Group, told employees: "We have not, and will not, cut journalism that is fundamental to our core purpose and values," adding: "We have our challenges, but they are neither unique nor insurmountable."
In the middle of the strategic review, rumours emerged that GMG was considering shutting down The Observer, which the company scotched in August. It announced instead on Tuesday that The Observer would axe its Music Monthly, Woman and Sport Monthly magazines as part of a plan to cut £2m. Ms McCall added GMG's Trader Media Group posted a £55m profit in the past six months, while Emap made £40m.Reuse content