Guardian Media Group, which publishes the Guardian and Observer titles, is preparing a restructure and the cut of 250 jobs - 100 of which will be to editorial - in a bid to break even within three years as the newspaper industry suffers to keep up with the rise of digital media.
The media group intends to cut operating losses, which amounted to £58.6m in the year to the end of March, by restructuring less profitable parts of the business. In line with this, the company has scrapped plans to transform the Midlands Goods Shed, a former train depot, into a large events space.
In total around 100 jobs are set to be cut from the 725-strong editorial workforce and 150 from commercial departments, support functions such as finance and human resources and other parts of the business. The business reports half of its costs relate to staff and news of the cuts comes after it unveiled a three-year plan in January to break even at an operating level by focusing on new revenue streams and a new membership proposal as well as a 20 per cent overall reduction in the cost base.
In a joint email to staff, editor-in-chief Katharine Viner and chief executive David Pemsel said the “volatile media environment” had led to an “urgent need for radical action”.
“Our plan of action has one goal: to secure the journalistic integrity and financial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity,” they wrote, before adding they hoped the cuts would all be voluntary and that compulsory redundancies would only be considered only “if necessary”.
Brian Williams, Guardian father of the chapel for the National Union of Journalists, said: “We are encouraged by the fact the company is seeking voluntary redundancies and is looking to mitigate potential job losses by finding other cost-cutting measures.”
There are no plans to close the Observer, the Guardian’s Sunday sister title, said a spokeswoman for the company.
The announcement of cuts to the Guardian comes after a testing year for the publisher industry as print revenues decline, with the Independent announcing the imminent closure of its print titles, and Trinity Mirror’s latest print offering declining in sales day-by-day.