Guardian denies cull of older staff

The parent company of The Guardian is not ditching experienced print journalists in favour of web-savvy younger staff, according to the paper’s managing editor.

So far, 19 journalists, some of whom have worked at the papers for more than 30 years, have already either left or signalled their intention to leave in the next year as part of a voluntary redundancy scheme.

Chris Elliot said he expected between 30 and 40 editorial staff to leave as part of the process

by the time the scheme closes in June 2009.

Elliot said this figure was not the company’s target, and stressed that there would be no overall reduction in editorial headcount.

He admitted that the company was now seeking journalists with online journalism skills ahead of GNM’s move to a hi-tech, integrated newsroom in London’s King’s Cross at the end of the year, but denied that would mean ‘dumping’long-serving print-era journalists who are willing to make the transition to online.

‘Experienced print journalists who want to stay with us and go the journey, we will give them every assistance to move into the new media skills.

‘We’ve got a whole range of people, particularly who are aged 60 and 65, who have made it clear that they don’t want to take the journey or to move to King’s Cross.”

Elliot is currently involved in the process of drawing up a new ‘house agreement’with The Guardian’s NUJ chapel. Months of discussions last year between the two sides led to an agreement on multimedia working, which included a 4.8 per cent across-the-board pay rise.

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