Guardian News and Media editor Alan Rusbridger has admitted the organisation needs to ‘lose significant numbers’following last week’s announcement that digital and not print is the main priority.
Guardian News & Media currently employs around 630 journalists and reported “cash losses” of £33m for the year to April.
‘We will need to lose significant numbers but we don’t need to do it by tomorrow, we can do it over the next couple of years and we can have a civilized conversation about that,’Rusbridger told BBC Radio Four’s The Media Show.
‘We need to get more developers in, we need all these people with digital skills and we are losing money so we need to reduce the cost base – so yes, we will need to lose some people and we will try to do it in a voluntary way, but we need to end up employing fewer people than we have at the moment.”
Digital income totalled £37m in 2010 and that figure is expected to rise to £47m in the current financial year, according to GNM’s own estimates.
Rusbridger also use the interview to reaffirm his commitment to free website content..
He said: ‘I think the mantra of the moment is we charge whatever the market will sustain in whatever medium we’re in, so we obviously charge in print, we are doing quite well charging on the iPhone, and we will charge for the iPad app we are about to launch.
‘We don’t charge for the browser version, and we still haven’t seen any evidence, really, that that will work for us.”
Asked if there will be a print version of The Guardian in five years’ time, he replied: ‘I would have thought that we are going to be in print for some time yet,’but added: ‘I think print is essentially already a broken economic model. This idea of expensive printing sites, vans trundling throughout the night, wholesalers, newsagents, paper boys, I mean it is a Victorian chain of distribution.’