Nationals wield the axe as downturn fears begin to bite

By Dominic Ponsford

Cutbacks are being made across the national press as fears of a downturn in the advertising market take hold.

The Sun is axing 20 editorial staff, the Evening Standard is cutting
up to 10 from its website and the Express is closing its northern
office.

The Sun is expected to reveal which journalists are at
risk of redundancy next week. The cull represents about five per cent
of the paper’s editorial team of more than 400.

According to an insider, the cutbacks will be across editorial departments but will not include online.

The paper is also scrapping some “historic and outdated allowances paid to a very small number of people”.

These
include £90 to sports reporters for covering matches on a Saturday and
£40 a day for staff “acting up” to cover a more senior position.

The Sun may also change the shift patterns for night production staff from a four-night week to a ninenight fortnight.

A
three-month consultation period has started involving the News
International Staff Association. Those being made redundant are
expected to leave in about a month.

A
Wapping source said: “It’s our response to a very difficult market out
there. The advertising market is declining dramatically and circulation
is in long-term decline. We have to make these savings so we can
continue to invest in the content of the paper.

“This is not just The Sun – it’s our reaction to a very difficult economic climate for newspapers.”

Sun managing editor Graham Dudman declined to comment.

The
Evening Standard’s website, thisislondon.com, is losing up to 10 staff,
who are mainly being found other jobs within Associated Newspapers. It
is understood to be greatly reducing news and City coverage to
concentrate on the paid-for film, theatre and restaurant review
sections and the dating service.

Meanwhile
at Express Newspapers, the expected closure of its Manchester office is
the latest in a succession of cutbacks. In March the Sunday
Express magazine S:2 was scrapped.

The
closure is expected to save around £25,000 a year and the staff – two
Express reporters, a Daily Star reporter and a photographer – are said
to be “dismayed”. They have been given a choice of moving to the
Express offices 40 miles away in Broughton, near Preston, or working
from home.

At The Observer, journalists have been given an extra
week to volunteer for redundancy. Its owner, Guardian Newspapers,
announced last week that it was looking for up to 15 volunteers.

The
terms on offer have been improved and now consist of one month per year
of service plus pay for their notice period, which is normally three
months.

Comments
No comments to display

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

18 + one =

CLOSE
CLOSE