Nine jobs at risk after FT's Business magazine is axed

The Business: ad slump blame

Nine staff, eight of them journalists, on The Business will be without jobs when the Financial Times’s Saturday magazine closes at the end of the month.

They are currently being interviewed individually by managing editor Diane Summers about their future.

The announcement of the closure came as NUJ journalists at the FT were about to meet to express their concern over falling staffing levels generally.

Summers will talk about the options and alternatives open to the magazine staff.

She told Press Gazette there would be no compulsory redundancies and if there were some people who felt they really did not want to be redeployed, she was prepared to discuss redundancy terms with them.

Editor Andrew Gowers informed staff in a memo of the closure of The Business last week. He cited the uncertainty in the advertising market leading to tough decisions being made at the FT. "In times like these, when there are huge demands in core reporting areas, it is necessary to stand back and ask whether we are in danger of over-extending ourselves," he wrote.

Gowers wants to focus on the core Weekend newspaper, edited by Julia Cuthbertson, who also edits The Business, said Summers.

"We hope there will be some developments at Weekend as well, so Julia will have a very full job," she added.

Summers said there was no criticism whatsoever of the content of the magazine.

"It has been a tremendous addition and a new voice for the FT, appealing to a different set of readers. When the external climate allows us, we would really like to have a look again at magazine ideas," she explained.

Nigel Clarke, FoC at the paper, told Press Gazette after a chapel meeting last week: "We are obviously unhappy with the closure but the main focus of our attention is to make sure that the people working on The Business don’t lose their jobs.

"We have been assured that there will be no compulsory redundancies and we will be keeping an eye on that to make sure it is followed through."

Clarke conceded that the industry was going through hard times and hard decisions had to be taken.

But on staffing levels, he said, things were getting difficult. "We have had a staffing freeze for going on for a year. We have expressed our concern about how things are going and asked them to manage any staffing reduction so that it does not impact on any particular department. Everybody is suffering as much as everybody else at the moment."

By Jean Morgan

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