The Evening Standard is now accepting voluntary redundancies from editorial staff as it looks to cull an undisclosed number of roles to "continue to adapt in this fast-changing world" and make savings to turn around the £10m loss it made in 2018.
It comes just days after the title scooped the Grand Prix at The Drum Online Media Awards with plaudits lavished upon its editorial team's output.
The Standard will trim the newsroom to integrate its print and digital teams into a more cohesive unit. The title is looking to build on its online success and court a broader audience beyond London and into the rest of the UK and abroad, targeting the US in particular.
In 2018, the publisher announced a £10m loss, despite its efforts to broaden the scale of the title. Its print output, freely distributed across London, was particularly hurt by an advertising slump.
Manish Malhotra, group managing director of ESI Media, commented on the move after an announcement was made in a company-wide email from editor George Osborne. Malhotra said: “The Evening Standard has never been more influential or had a larger audience than today. We aim to keep it that way, which is why we need to continue to adapt in this fast-changing world."
The Standard is now consulting with staff and editors to determine which posts to cut - blaming the need to make savings and for greater integration across the title.
Malhotra added: "This is an important step in our growth plan, as we build towards a profitable and sustainable future. The changes will allow us to produce the best content and product for our influential audiences.”
The cutbacks come in the same week The Guardian announced a profit after three years of savings measures.
Below is the announcement email from editor George Osborne that was today shared with staff:
Thanks to all your hard work, the Evening Standard has never been more influential and its audience has never been bigger. We’ve been successful by constantly adapting to a changing world. Together, in the last couple of years, we’ve redesigned the paper and invested heavily in our digital output. That’s why our print circulation has stayed steady as other papers have declined, our online readership has grown hugely and we’ve won awards. Now we need to adapt again.
For, like everyone else in our industry, we are facing a tough economic market with rising costs. We need to ensure the Standard evolves to be profitable and keeps pace with our fast-changing society.
The success we’ve had in building our online presence means we can now move to further integrate our print and digital operations. We will be creating single-structure editorial departments. This will create efficiencies, and avoid unnecessary duplication, so we can invest in the future.
We will start a period of formal consultation with you effective from today’s date. The heads of desks will conduct a review of their areas, with the objective of making recommendations to senior editorial executives. We want to find the best structure for the integrated teams. As part of the consultation process you will be given the opportunity to take part in the review and share your ideas for improving the way we work together. Information about this will be circulated next week.
The move to integrated teams combined with the need to make financial savings, mean that regrettably, there will be post closures as a result of the review. The details of the proposed new structures, changes to working patterns and which posts are affected will be announced at the end of May, when you will be informed if you are at risk of redundancy. We will consider requests from anyone seeking voluntary redundancy. If you wish to explore this further please contact HR or Doug Wills.
I thank you in advance for your cooperation and support over the coming weeks. It will not be easy, but if we are going to continue to succeed then we need to go on changing.
If you have any questions, please do speak to your line manager.
Best wishes, George