Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Job Cuts at the Indy

I hear The Independent is going to announce a raft of compulsory redundancies today or tomorrow. This follows similar moves by The Guardian and Telegraph. I wonder how much this really has to do with the recession, rather than the fact that advertisers are gradually moving their business online.

It's a shame that The Indy is having to cut back, just when it has become a newspaper worth reading again. Roger Alton has done an excellent job in restoring its reputation after the damage done during the time when it styled itself a "Viewspaper".


Simon Gardner said...

Will we have any high-brow newspapers at all in 10-20 years time? I fear not.

Many US cities now have NO daily newspaper.

Trouble is, the online advertising income is just not there to sustain the staffing levels to run a “broad-sheet” style service. So we may be left with serious news from broadcasters and their on-line versions only.

How long will the big news agencies last?

Scary isn’t it? A long tradition of print journalism looks like it’s drawing to an inexorable close.

It once again emphasises the greater importance of the continuation of a publicly funded BBC.

Anonymous said...

Is it the LA Times which is now earning enough from online advertising to cover the cost of its newsroom.

Simon Gardner's comments are an overreaction. Things are changing, that's all.

We need to get rid of the BBC.

Bert Rustle said...

There is no competition for a national Nationalist newspaper at present. Indeed there is no competition for a national newspaper which has an unbiased presentation of nationalism.

Will any newspaper proprietor put profit before ideology?

What might such an independent newspaper be called?

Dr Snuggles said...

Good riddance to bad rubbish. 'Independent' my arse.

Filter said...

There's a little bit of the newspaper industry's own doing in this - by making their content free on the web. Who decided that 'web' should mean 'free'?

The argument about the BBC is a good one too - since when did 'broadcasting' cover the written word? BBC news online is TV, radio and newspaper copy all in one. This does terrible damage to commercial organisations.

The real money in online advertising is in search - hence why Google rakes it in on the back of linking to other organisations' free content.

Paul Halsall said...

Simon, 10-20 years? I think that's way too optimistic. Many think the Indy will be gone in 6 months.

In a year's a lot more will be gone. Have you seen the circ. figures for The Scotsman, The Herald, The Express. And how can the Telegraph hold it's ground when it keeps firing half it's staff?

In two years time we will have:

The Times
The Guardian
Daily Mail
The Sun
Daily Mirror

and nothing much else.

Simon Gardner said...

Filter said... “There's a little bit of the newspaper industry's own doing in this - by making their content free on the web. Who decided that 'web' should mean ‘free’?”

There were early attempts - notably in the States - to introduce a subscription model. Far too few were prepared to pay to make it viable except with specialist financial publications. Even fewer would pay now. The only way to sustain a mainstream on-line newspaper outside the BBC’s tax model is through (far too limited) advertising.

The LA Times has cut and cut staffing to ludicrously low levels and is still doing so. You cannot sustain a proper newspaper-style staffing level on present or foreseeable on-line advertising revenue. The LA Times is not doing so.

And to Paul Halsall I stand by my position. The Indie has never been profitable. Many newspapers in the past have been rich men’s playthings.

I unfortunately believe that in 20 years there will be no serious national newspapers left. It may be considerably sooner. I say 20 years to be conservative. (And I don’t include the Mail, Mirror or Sun in that; I’m only talking about what used to be called the “broad-sheets” before they stopped being that.)

And I say this with no pleasure. I love newspapers and the on-line equivalent is just not the same.