Executives from The Guardian said Thursday there will be cuts at the British news organization’s U.S. operation, announcing a 30 percent reduction in head count across the board.
In a meeting with newsroom staff, Guardian Media Group CEO David Pemsel called the changes a “course correction.” Eamonn Store, CEO of The Guardian’s U.S. operations, told staff that the changes were due in part to low ad sales and to revenue projections that are “not enough to maintain our current cost base.” Store said the company needs to make up for a revenue shortfall of $4.4 million over the next six months.
The company plans to offer buyouts to unionized editorial staff first and will move on to layoffs if necessary. Layoffs of business side staff will begin immediately. A source briefed on the plans said the culling would amount to a reduction of about 50 jobs across the 150-person organization. Cuts in the newsroom will be negotiated by the union that represents Guardian U.S. journalists.
In an email to staff that was sent shortly after this story was initially published, Pemsel and Guardian editor in chief Kath Viner blamed volatility in the U.S. and U.K. media industries, where publishers are struggling to achieve digital advertising growth as Facebook and Google suck up more and more of the market share.
“It is inevitable that such seismic shifts in the business model are adversely impacting our revenues despite the Guardian’s strong US brand recognition,” they wrote. “The full impact of these changes will bring Guardian US closer to its target of break even in 2017/18 and provide a clearer financial framework for Guardian US for the years up to 2021 and beyond. However, as in London, we will continue to take the necessary action to manage the cost base in a volatile market in order to protect Guardian journalism in perpetuity.”
. . . .
Guardian U.S. also has grappled with a series of leadership changes, as well as tumult back at the mothership in London, where executives have been reigning in costs and implementing cuts to make up for steep losses in recent years.
Link to the rest at Politico