BBC, Guardian announce job cuts as Covid hits news biz
London: Top British media outlets the BBC and The Guardian announced major job cuts this week as the unstoppable Covid-19 pandemic severely hit the news publishing business worldwide.
In total, 520 jobs will go at the BBC, from a workforce of around 6,000 people. That includes 450 job cuts that were announced in January this year as part of an 80 million pound savings drive.
The Guardian announced that it will cut 180 jobs, including 70 from the editorial teams.
“The pandemic has boosted audiences and reader donations, but its effect on advertising and newspaper sales had created an unsustainable financial outlook for the Guardian,” editor Katharine Viner and CEO Annette Thomas said in a statement to staff this week.
The BBC News said it will have fewer anchors and reporters and would concentrate on fewer stories, “With journalists pooled in centralised teams, rather than working for specific programmes”.
Radio 4 programme ‘In Business’ will shut down, as will the ‘Business Live’ page on the BBC News Website.
“If we don’t make changes, we won’t be sustainable. This crisis has led us to re-evaluate exactly how we operate as an organisation,” said Fran Unsworth, Director of BBC News and Current Affairs.
Before the pandemic hit the news industry, the BBC was already facing pressure to save 125 million pounds ($157.9 million) as a result of the government pressure on its budget, reports the CNN.
The Andrew Neil Show will disappear from the BBC as part of the cuts.
The BBC said, “It was talking to Neil about a new BBC One interview show”.
On BBC World Service, World Update and The World This Week will end, while daily current affairs show Newsday will shorten in length.
The BBC also said it would close most of its social accounts to focus on core services like @bbcnews, @bbcworld and @bbcbreaking.
“Our operation has been underpinned by the principles we set out earlier this year — fewer stories, more targeted and with more impact. For BBC News to thrive, and for us to continue to serve all our audiences, we have to change,” Unsworth was quoted as saying.