Evgeny Lebedev is expected to close the Indy and Sindy print editions as soon as tonight. Of the 150 full-time staff, just 20 or so look like they’ll moving over to the i paper. It will not be difficult for the owners to find voluntary redundancies. Many journalists at the Indy will be loathe to work for the much-derided, clickbait-obsessed online offering.
Meanwhile the Guardian is imposing 20% cuts, with staff warned in an email this morning that “As our staff costs are by far our biggest overhead, one outcome of the budgeting process may be that redundancies are proposed”. They are looking at 100 redundancies, and according to Beth Rigby they want to start with their “on leave” columnist Seumas Milne. He is in line for a £90,000 payout.
Media sources tell Guido that the Telegraph is set to announce a jobs cull next week. Print journalists there are furious at the dumbing down of content for their own ‘digital first’, Indy-style clickbait-based website. You will often find the exact same traffic-farming stories on the Telegraph site as you will on the Indy online. See the Telegraph’s “Man with two penises writes tell-all memoir” and the i100’s “The man with two penises has now written a tell-all memoir”.
The FT have some killer numbers:
“Fleet Street’s large newsroom may be unsustainable. The Times had 454 editorial staff at last count, The Sun 525, the Daily Telegraph 662 and The Guardian, following expansion overseas, 925.”
Online-only is the only option. The question now is how proprietors and executives will reconcile the trend for traffic-driving churnalism to the pay the bills with actual, old-fashioned journalism in the digital age. The future of journalism is specialism, the most profitable online media operations have focus, that generates specific audience demographics that can be packaged for advertisers at premium prices.