More than 2,000 newspaper jobs hit as hundreds of publications across UK face Covid-19 cuts

More than 2,000 staff across the UK’s national and regional press have temporarily lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, Press Gazette research has found.

Across the country, news publishers have been furloughing staff, cutting wages and suspending print titles to cope with collapsing advertising and print sale revenues brought on by the pandemic.

In total, according to Press Gazette research, more than 500 publications – mainly local and regional newspapers – have made, or face, cuts due to coronavirus. Each of the publications is mapped below.

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For now, the majority of the more than 2,000 staff put on paid leave are non-editorial workers. By and large, news reporters have avoided furlough, as demand for news about the virus has resulted in record traffic online.

But Douglas McCabe, media analyst at Enders, has predicted that 5,000 print journalists in the UK could lost their jobs without state subsidies.

To arrive at our figure, Press Gazette took furlough numbers where reported and, where only a percentage was given, calculated a number based on the number of employees at the company given in its latest full-year accounts.

Below the coronavirus cuts map – which documents cuts in the US as well as the UK – is a round-up of companies and the actions they have taken so far to shore up their businesses against the Covid-19 downturn.

The interactive map, which readers can explore further by zooming in to different areas, highlights more than 500 publications or companies across the UK (plus more than 1,000 in the United States) that have made or face cutbacks due to coronavirus. In some cases within large companies, it is not yet clear where exactly the cuts have or will hit, but most – if not all – publications have been included in the map to indicate that they are at risk. The largest publishers included have their own colour of pin assigned to their publications. All other publications have yellow pins.  In the vast majority of cases, publications can be found at their headquarters or postal address. In some cases it was not possible to find these details and so publications have been placed in the areas they cover.

If you can improve our map in any way – e.g. by providing further details of cuts or updating any information we have gathered – please let us know.

National press

Reach (Mirror, Express and Star)

Accounts for year to end of December 2019
– Employees: 4,658
– Turnover: £702.5m
– Pre-tax profit: £150.6m

Reach is the UK’s largest news publisher. It owns the Mirror, Express, and Star national daily and Sunday titles and their associated websites.

On 6 April 2020, Reach announced it would furlough one fifth of its staff, paying them 90 per cent of their salaries.

About 940 of Reach’s staff have been furloughed, according to the National Union of Journalists.

A number of the journalists affected work in sport.

Staff who remain are having their wages cut by ten per cent, rising to 20 per cent for senior managers and senior editorial staff, as well as the board.

News UK (Sun and Times)

– Employees: (1,125 editorial)

News UK publishes the Sun and Times titles. On 17 April it asked staff to volunteer for unpaid leave or reduce their working hours, with a corresponding cut in pay. Staff were also told to take a third of their remaining annual leave, plus two days, before the end of June 2020.

The group said it was not planning to apply for the Government’s coronavirus job retention scheme, so will not furlough staff.

DMGT (Mail, Metro and i)

Accounts for year to end of September 2019
– Employees: 6,101 (2,292 in media)
– Turnover: £1.4bn
– Pre-tax profit: £145m

The owner of the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Mail Online and Metro titles has not furloughed staff, but has instead offered them shares in the company to compensate them for taking a pay cut during the pandemic.

Staff who earn more than £40,000 a year at DMG Media – DMGT’s publishing arm – are being asked to take a pay cut of between 1 per cent, for the lowest earners, and 26 per cent, for the highest earners.

Those who agree will be offered a monthly grant of shares in DMG Media parent company DMGT to the same value as their pay sacrifice.

Free newspaper the Metro is understood to have cut its circulation.

City AM

– Employees: 55

As a free newspaper, City AM has been one of the hardest hit by the downturn in advertising caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Its distribution model was reliant on commuters picking up copies of the paper at transport hubs, but most people are now staying at home.

At the end of March Press Gazette reported that it was putting a majority of staff on furlough. It has also suspended its print and digital editions, however its rolling news website continues to operate daily.

Press Gazette understands about 40 staff have been furloughed.

Evening Standard

Accounts for year to end of September 2018
– Employees: 357
– Turnover: £65.4m
– Pre-tax loss: £11.6m

The Evening Standard has been forced to change its distribution model from handouts at stations in the capital to home deliveries for the first time ever and has cut its print run from 800,000 to 500,000 copies a day.

A proportion of full-time staff at the paper have been placed on furlough from April, while those who remain will face a 20 per cent cut in their salaries, but only if they earn more than £37,500 a year.

Weekly supplement ES Magazine has been suspended for two months.

Independent Digital news and Media 

Accounts for year to end of September 2019
– Employees: 196
– Turnover: £27m
– Pre-tax profit: £2.3m

The Independent told employees on 24 April that a “very limited number of staff” would be put on furlough and that wages for all remaining staff would be cut by 20 per cent, except those earning below £37,500 a year.

Telegraph Media Group

Accounts for year to end of December 2018
– Employees: 1,149 (611 editorial)
– Turnover: 271.4m
– Pre-tax profit: £0.9m

Telegraph Media Group, publisher of the Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph has furloughed 90 non-editorial staff until the end of May, while those who remain will face a 20 per cent pay cut, including executives, and work a four-day week from 1 May.

Editorial staff are as yet unaffected by these measures.

Guardian Media Group

Accounts for year to end of March 2019
– Employees: 1,437 (860 editorial)
– Turnover: £224.5m
– Pre-tax profit: £30.8m

The Guardian Media Group, publisher of the Guardian, Observer and theguardian.com, has furloughed 100 non-editorial staff and suspended pay rises for six months, as of 15 April 2020.

Managers face a 20 per cent pay cut and board and (owner) Scott Trust members a 30 per cent cut for six months.

The group said it expects revenue to be down by £20m in the first half of the 2020/21 financial year, which started in April. The measures will save it several million pounds, but it still expects a large budget shortfall.

Financial Times

Accounts for year to end of December 2018
– Employees: 1,297
– Turnover: £323.6m
– Pre-tax profit: £8.2m

The Financial Times was one of the first newsbrands to get staff to work from home rather than the office.

The FT reported on 15 April that 20 non-editorial staff had been furloughed. Of those continuing to work, 80 managers and editors are taking a ten per cent wage cut for the rest of 2020, with board pay down by 20 per cent.

FT chief executive John Ridding till take a 30 per cent pay cut.

The annual bonus scheme has also been suspended and pension contributions halved temporarily.

PA Media Group

Accounts for year to end of December 2018
– Employees: 859
– Turnover: £70.2m
– Pre-tax profit: £3.3m

PA Media Group confirmed on 31 March that a quarter of its staff (about 215 people) “whose work has effectively ceased” would be furloughed from 1 April.

Those furloughed include 39 sports journalists and five racing journalists for the news wire. News journalists were not affected, however.

On 8 April it emerged that the group was in introducing a graded wage cut in further Covid-19 measures.

Regional press

Reach

Reach owns a number of regional newspapers, including dailies the Manchester Evening News, Birmingham Mail and Liverpool Echo. It also has a network of “Live” regional news websites.

Reach has suspended five regional free titles in action to mitigate the impact of Covid-19. The titles all publish their last editions in early April.

The affected titles are: Manchester Weekly News, Sutton Coldfield Observer, Lichfield Mercury, Midweek Visiter, and Blackmore Vale Magazine.

Archant

Accounts for year to end of December 2018
– Employees: 1,277
– Turnover: £87.3m
– Pre-tax loss: £7.6m

Archant told staff in April that it was putting a “small number” of them on furlough. Press Gazette understands this is about ten per cent of staff.

The publisher said furloughed staff would be those whose work had “disappeared” or had been “radically reduced” by the Covid-19 crisis.

Archant publishes a number of regional weekly and daily titles, including the Eastern Daily Press.

JPI Media

JPI Media has yet to file its first accounts with Companies House.

JPI Media, which owns the Yorkshire Post and Scotsman titles, has put 350 employees on furlough and has cut the salaries of those who continue to work for it by up to 15 per cent, Press Gazette reported on 1 April.

It is understood that about 60 of those affected are journalists, including in sport and photography. Furloughs are likely to last for at least three weeks.

The publisher also suspended 11 free newspaper titles and one free magazine from 30 March amid concerns over home deliveries.

Newsquest Media Group

Accounts for year to end of December 2018
– Employees: 2,413 (650 editorial)
– Turnover: £197.3m
– Pre-tax profit: £108m

Press Gazette reported on 24 March that Newsquest was placing a “significant number” of its staff on furlough, while all those who remain will face a wage cut.

It is understood about ten per cent of Newsquest’s 650 editorial staff have been put on furlough, with advertising staff mainly affected.

Newsquest publishes a number of weekly and daily newspapers, including the Herald in Scotland and Carlisle News and Star.

Iliffe Media Group

Accounts for year to end of March 2019
– Employees: 319
– Turnover: £22.7m
– Pre-tax loss: £10.6m

Iliffe Media Group has furloughed about a quarter of its staff (roughly 80 people), including 30 journalists whose workload has decreased, such as those covering sport.

South London Press

The 150-year-old bi-weekly South London Press has furloughed half of its dozen staff and is asking readers for donations to help with its running costs as advertising has “plummeted” during the Covid-19 lockdown.

B2B

Metropolis Group

Accounts for year to end of December 2018
Employees: 452 (146 editorial)
Turnover: £52.65m
Pre-tax profit: £4m

Media and events business Metropolis group, which owns 40 B2B brands under Emap and three consumer-focused titles, is to furlough between a quarter and a third of all its employees in the coming weeks.

This could be as many as 150 staff, according to Press Gazette calculations.

CEO Robert Marr told staff the news on 20 April 2020, saying sales were “markedly down” during pandemic. The group had already furloughed some staff as a result of the coronavirus.

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Comments

2 thoughts on “More than 2,000 newspaper jobs hit as hundreds of publications across UK face Covid-19 cuts”

  1. You didn’t mention the widespread hyper local Tindle titles, which has furloughed many staff including journalists and subs.

  2. You didn’t include the widespread hyper local Tindle newspapers, which has furloughed a lot of staff including journalists and subs.

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