Jobs to go at New Statesman - and union left 'astounded'

The New Statesman’s associate editor and books editor could both lose their jobs in cost-cutting measures, as the magazine was criticised for failing to recognise the National Union of Journalists.

A source at the magazine has told Press Gazette that Barbara Gunnell, associate editor, was informed last week that she could be made redundant, and Ian Irvine, books editor, has been asked to reapply for his job in a smaller department.

Brian Cathcart, professor of journalism at Kingston University, has resigned as the magazine’s media columnist, and arts editor Alice O’Keefe has resigned from the magazine to join the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

‘You have got to imagine this is a very, very small operation now,’said one source. ‘There’s alarm at how they’re going to get the magazine out.”

Gunnell – a former NUJ president and once of The Observer and Independent on Sunday – will be especially missed, the source said.

‘She did an enormous amount of work on the magazine. She was very productive, very experienced. She was one of two or three people that knew it all.

‘The new editor has got rid of most of the columnists, and it’s a different ship. People just don’t know what he’s aiming for any more. There’s no evidence that it knows where it’s going.”

Meanwhile, the NUJ today criticised New Statesman for failing to recognise the union – despite being formed in 1913 ‘with the aim of permeating the educated and influential classes with socialist ideas”, and being part-owned by Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson.

Sue Harris, NUJ national organiser for magazines, said: ‘Given the editorial stance of the publication we were astounded by their response.

‘We will now start the statutory procedure to gain recognition which we are confident of winning because we have more than ninety percent union membership in our proposed bargaining unit.”

New Statesman editor Jason Cowley and managing editor Sue Matthias were unavailable for comment.

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