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‘Time to face up to newspaper cost cutting’

Stephen Glover on the Press in the Independent today links troubles at three British newspapers with the crisis at the Tribune Group in the US which is putting itself up for sale.

There are strike threats at the Telegraph (job cuts and the integrated newsroom) and The Express (job cuts including outsourcing the City pages). At the Guardian, he says there are “grumbles”, less likely to lead to a strike, over demands for parity for website staff.

Across the Atlantic, the Tribune Group has been demanding cuts at editorial cuts t the Los Angeles Times where circulation fell 8% in the six months to September.

Glover writes:

My message is that journalists had better accept they are not immune from changing commercial realities. All but the most privileged editors will have to learn to make better use of tighter budgets. Proprietors will have to remember that there comes a point at which you cannot go on cutting costs and sell newspapers.

He thinks Richard Desmond, owner of the Express, should forego his next £30m pay cheque, and plough the money back into the paper.

Over at the Guardian, Richard Addis, former editor of the Express, is less demanding wanting only the 35 staff due to be sacked. And that is for a a launch of “something refreshing”. Addis claims that launching a newspaper is a smart way start a digital business, saying that “equalling the visibility of a newspaper with a digital business takes more marketing money than it costs to run a newspaper”.

With those staff, Addis says, he would:

…use the team to launch something refreshing. I am convinced that there are still half a dozen more £100m fortunes to be made in Britain out of print, and I mean from scratch, not by selling off the family silver.

He outlines a few ideas: a national business tabloid, a free quality newspaper, a daily magazine and postcode weeklies.

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