'Telegraph' titles hit by advertising recession lay off staff

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The Independent Online

About 40 editorial staff at The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph are to lose their jobs and the remainder are facing a pay freeze as Conrad Black's Hollinger International group cuts costs to cope with the advertising recession.

The redundancies, affecting up to 10 per cent of the editorial staff, are the latest sign of hard times at Hollinger, which has reported third-quarter losses of $140m (£100m) and whose shares have lost a third of their value in six months. In Britain, the group's revenue was down by £10m.

Some of the job losses are expected once IT staff finish installing a new computer network to replace the papers' antiquated Atex system. However, others have been prompted by the impact of the advertising recession on Hollinger, which has been rumoured to be the subject of a possible takeover bid by either the Daily Mail and General Trust or Richard Desmond's Express Newspapers.

But speculation that Lord Black of Crossharbour might be selling the Telegraph titles was fiercely denied by Dan Colson, the group's chief executive.

Last night he confirmed that up to 40 staff were facing redundancy but said cuts at the Telegraph titles were in line with those made across the rest of the media industry. "We're simply doing as everyone else is doing, but in a far less savage fashion," he said.

The jobs losses come after Hollinger announced it was putting $2m (£1.4m) into the launch of a new daily newspaper in New York.

The Telegraph titles are only the latest national newspaper group to make staff redundant in response to plummeting revenues. News International recently announced lay-offs aimed at saving £33m; The Sun, The Times, The Sunday Times and the News of the World have all been told to cut costs.