Wired magazine on the Guardian’s cash problems


Guardian Media Group is losing around £100,000 per day, according to this article on the Wired UK web site.

They’re coming perilously close to redundancies. A lot of other newspapers have far fewer permanent, full-time staff — but they employ a lot more casual staff (freelancers), who are on shorter contracts and not entitled to the same pensions and holidays as permanent staff. When you employ people on short-term contracts, it’s a lot easier to shed staff when times are hard.

The obvious truth is that running two world-class newspapers and a news-driven site that attracts 27 million users every month doesn’t come cheap. At its peak, GNM’s editorial operation employed 900 editorial staff. This is fewer than the 1,100 employed in the newsroom of The New York Times. But by British standards, it’s a big number.
Last year, Telegraph Media Group employed 594 staff to edit and produce a product line-up that resembles GNM’s. According to the group’s accounts, it employed 547 during 2007. During 2008, Times Newspapers Ltd, home to The Times and The Sunday Times, employed 647 editorial staff (down from 675 a year earlier).
Not only does GNM employ a lot of journalists, it also pays their salaries out of a revenue base than is smaller than its rivals’. Last year, Times Newspapers Ltd raked in revenues of £445 million. Telegraph Media Group generated £343 million. GNM managed just £254 million.