Guardian US staff to be trimmed by a third; leaked documents story stirs up Wisconsin politics
Politico is reporting that executives from Guardian News & Media announced today that the media company’s US operations would be reduced, with up to 50 positions eliminated from the 150 person staff. (See Politico story by Joe Pompeo and Peter Sterne here.)
“The impact will be spread across all departments and the priority is to protect Guardian journalism. We will maintain streamlined newsrooms in New York, Washington DC and San Francisco,” Guardian Media Group CEO David Pemsel and Guardian editor in chief Kath Viner said in a memo. “Other savings will come from freezing recruitment and reducing spend in areas such as marketing, consultancy, travel and general expenses.”
“We said in January that we want Guardian Media Group to break even at an operating level within the next three years and that no part of the business can be immune from tough action to secure the Guardian in perpetuity,” the company said in a statement.
The company blamed “seismic shifts in the business model” saying that despite the growing audience Guardian US has acquired revenue continues to be impacted. The Guardian, while charging a subscription for its digital apps, continues to eschew a paywall for its websites.
Just this week, Guardian US has broken a major story concerning Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. The story, which involved leaked documents, chronicled “pervasive influence of corporate cash in the democratic process.”
The story was soon picked up by Madison.com, but it took a day for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, now owned by Gannett, to pick up the story. That has brought it to the forefront of state politics and forced Republicans to respond.
“The British newspapers are world famous for printing illegally obtained information,” said former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen when asked about the story. “I am disappointed that is now the standard at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.”