The financial position of the Guardian Media Group (GMG) — owners of The Guardian and Observer newspapers, plus some of the most viewed news websites in the world — suffered a huge blow with this week’s leak of the 173 million-pound loss (A$300 million) figure to the Financial Times.
On top of that — as the company was being battered by falling print ad revenues, and a small and telling drop in digital revenues — management was, unbelievably, allowing staff numbers to continue growing. No wonder there was a revolt among staff at the papers, especially the new managers and editors, to the ascension of long-time editor, Alan Rusbridger, to the chairmanship of the Scott Trust this year. He went to sleep in what was to be his last year running the paper ahead of his move up to chairman.
The annual report shows that total staff numbers increased to 1813 in the year to March 2016, up from 1650 a year earlier. These included 1050 editorial and production staff (up from 925). So it’s no wonder that the company looked for staff and other cost cuts and, as a result, 268 staff have taken voluntary redundancy, including 69 in editorial. And 60 unfilled jobs will be closed. The impact of voluntary redundancies was taken into account in this year’s figures, and will take staff numbers at Guardian News and Media down to 2011-2012 levels.
*Correction: an earlier version of this story incorrectly put GMG’s total losses at 246 million pounds, and claimed the impact of the voluntary redundancies wouldn’t factor into GMG’s figures until next financial year. These errors have been corrected.