Guardian staff brace for more job cuts as part of break-even plan

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The Guardian told staff on Wednesday to expect more job cuts this year in the UK and the US as the loss-making newspaper group pushes forward with a three-year plan to break even.

David Pemsel, chief executive of the Guardian Media Group, and Katharine Viner, the paper’s editor, said in a memo to employees that the publisher had “made progress” and “successfully met our year one financial objectives, reducing our losses just ahead of target and reducing our cash outgoings”. That included cutting 250 staff in the UK through voluntary redundancies, cutting its US staff from 140 to 100 and signing up more than 200,000 paying “members”.

However, they warned that “our operating costs remain too high, trading conditions remain tough and further changes and cost savings will be necessary if we are to meet our target of breaking even at an operating level by 2018/19.”

Like other news outlets on both sides of the Atlantic, the Guardian has been hit by declining print revenue and a digital advertising market where most dollars flow to Google and Facebook. Publishers are tightening their belts, trimming their print operations and shedding jobs.

In February, the Guardian told staff it is likely to burn through £90m of cash during the current financial year. GMG is also considering moving the Guardian and the Observer from from their distinctive Berliner formats to tabloid editions as a further cost-saving measure.

Mr Pemsel and Ms Viner did not specify how many additional jobs are expected to be eliminated this year but said they anticipated “some redundancies in the UK” and “some job losses” in the US. Individual departments will set their own targets to save money, and the newspaper will not fill any current job openings for the foreseeable future.

In the US, the paper’s downsized staff had been set to move from one co-working space in Manhattan to another in Brooklyn, Buzzfeed reported this week. But the plan was scrapped after the company learned the Brooklyn office was located in property owned by the Kushner Companies – the real estate group controlled by the family of Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of US President Donald Trump.

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