The Guardian Media Group (GMG) lost nearly $227 million in the last financial year and is losing some of its most high-profile reporters as company executives desperately try to right a sinking ship.
The UK-based media group that runs The Observer and The Guardian — which is known for its liberal bent on issues ranging from global warming to immigration — has had a tough financial year, suffering pre-tax losses of more than $90 million compared to a mere $19 million loss last year.
When write-downs are included, the Guardian lost nearly $227 million last financial year, but that’s only the beginning of the paper’s problems since high-profile journalists are leaving the Guardian because they are skeptical the paper’s new membership program will turn it around.
“I don’t know anyone who believes the new membership scheme will generate enough revenue to cover continuing losses,” a source told Politico.
GMG has taken drastic measures in 2016 to cut its costs and boost revenues. In March, GMG announced it was cutting 310 positions, including 100 editorial staff, in a bid to save money. The company hopes all the cuts will be made by voluntary workforce reductions.
It’s part of GMG’s plan to cut costs 20 percent over three years. Company executives are also looking to increase revenue by doubling their revenues from its membership program — a plan its best journalists are skeptical of.
Politico reported high-profile writers were caught up in its workforce reduction and are leaving the Guardian. Politico notes “production staffers and copy editors have also accepted redundancy, most notably long-serving production editor David Marsh.”
“Every quarter we will look at that, and if that gap starts to widen again, it is inevitable that we will have to look at costs again,” said GMG CEO David Pemsel. “But we are a private company, we do still have the money in the bank, we still have an incredibly supportive board and an amazing trust, and they don’t want us to cut our way to success.”
The Guardian, GMG’s left-wing flagship paper, is known for its more alarmist stance on global warming and opinion editorials bashing so-called “climate deniers.” The Guardian, however, has an opinion column called “Climate Consensus — The 97%” by blogger Dana Nuccitelli.
The Guardian even teamed up with the environmental group 350.org to launch a campaign encouraging institutions to divest from fossil fuel holdings. The so-called “Keep it in the Ground” campaign launched as United Nations delegates head to Paris to hash out a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol.
But the paper’s alarmism apparently isn’t generating enough readership to boost revenues. The Guardian was so desperate for revenue it even resorted to asking “Brexit” supporters for cash.
The Guardian ran numerous op-eds bashing the so-called Brexit vote as fueled by “racism,” amounting it to “inter-generational theft.” The Guardian also “calmly” runs stories about impending environmental doom from global warming.
Guardian Editor-In-Chief Katharine Viner still appealed for donations. Viner asked readers to contribute “either through a monthly or one-off payment – so we can continue interrogating exactly what has happened, and why, and what needs to happen next.”
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