The Media Cull Continues

19th May 2020 / United Kingdom
The Media Cull Continues

In December last year, newspaper circulation continued to fall across the industry. Even The Sun reported a 13 per cent fall in just that one year. All paid-for newspapers continued to see their sales fall year-on-year, with the smallest drop (three per cent) at the Observer.

Then the COVID-19 crisis came and ad revenues crashed.

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.

Douglas McCabe, media analyst at Enders, has predicted that 5,000 print journalists in the UK could lose their jobs.

Reach is the UK’s largest news publisher. It owns the Mirror, Express, and Star national daily and Sunday titles and their associated websites. About 940 of Reach’s staff have been furloughed, according to the National Union of Journalists.

News UK (The Sun and Times) – 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.

It’s pretty much the same at City AM, Evening Standard, Independent, Telegraph, PA media Group and so on – where pay cuts, staff are furloughed, or staff are on reduced hours and pay, pension contributions halved or are facing redundancies.

BuzzFeed News has just announced it is closing its UK operations with 80 job losses – USA stays open.

The Economist, open since 1815 has just announced 90 job losses and stops printing its 1843 magazine.

Quartz UK will close its London office leaving New York, Los Angeles, New Delhi and Nairobi operations untouched.

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Midland News makes 90 jobs redundant.

The FT has stopped all non-staff contributors.

Even the 150-year-old bi-weekly South London Press has furloughed half of its staff and is asking readers for donations to help with its survival.

In total, there are about 2,000 media staff in the newspaper industry affected by drastically falling revenues, with many more paid contributors who have been stopped from submitting.

2020 looks to be a devastating year for the newspaper industry. Some may celebrate their downfall but, without any doubt, this is damaging to Britain’s democracy that is already suffering from government overreach and its pernicious intervention into free speech.


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