Staff at the News of the World, who may have thought they had hit rock bottom when their company told them their newspaper was "toxic" and closed it, have been shocked again by the offer of work... in Siberia.
A posting to the austere eastern Russian region, commonly associated with the Soviet gulags, to work as a "materials manager" for the Fox arm of Rupert Murdoch's sprawling News Corp empire, might sound more like punishment than a fresh start.
But it is one of around 200 jobs being offered to former members of the NotW team, including such positions as "application development consultant" in Bulgaria for Dow Jones.
It is not what the paper's staff hoped for when Mr Murdoch, the News Corp chairman, and former News International chief executive, Rebekah Brooks, assured MPs last week that everything possible was being done to find new posts for those placed on "gardening leave" after the 168 year-old title was consigned to history.
With 283 people understood to have lost their jobs, the News Corp chairman told the House of Commons Select Committee last week that he hoped to re-employ all of those not involved in criminality: "We have in this case made – and I am making this continually – every effort to see that those people are employed in other divisions of the company." It is understood that 30 News of the World staff have been found jobs at News International so far, plus another 30 who are continuing to work on Fabulous magazine, a NotW supplement which is now distributed with the The Sun.
In recent days, staff have been invited to News International's headquarters in Wapping, east London, for 15-minute interviews with human-resources staff. They have been offered counselling and the opportunity to retrain during their 90-day leave.
The NotW team has also been invited to apply for around 175 jobs covering four branches of the News Corp business: Fox, the publishing company HarperCollins, Dow Jones and News International.
Many of the Dow Jones posts are for financial experts. There is also a job going as a "symbology analyst Russian language". Symbology is the art of expression through symbols.
HarperCollins is looking for a "legal advisor" in London, a role which might have appealed to the former NotW legal manager Tom Crone, had he not clashed recently with James Murdoch over evidence given to Parliament.
Few of the posts being offered are in Wapping. There are a handful of jobs on The Sun, but others who wish to stay with News Corp, which employs 50,000 people worldwide, may need to retrain and be prepared to leave the country.
Other Fox jobs being touted include the role of "TV product manager" in Spain, "stock controller" in Italy and a "business controller" in Sweden.Reuse content