The Times newspaper to cut jobs as subsidies end

Job cuts at The Times as acting editor warns News Corp subsidies will end

The Times is to make 20 journalists redundant following a warning from acting editor John Witherow that News Corp’s profitable entertainment businesses will no longer subsidise the title.

By Christopher Williams, Technology, Media and Telecoms Editor4:50PM BST 10 Jun 2013Comments1 Comment

The jobs cuts will affect fewer than one in 10 editorial staff, The Times said.

Mr Witherow told staff on Monday that the reorganisation of News Corp into two companies would mean tougher conditions for Times Newspapers, the loss-making unit that publishes The Times and The Sunday Times. It lost £28.7m in the year to July 2012, according to accounts filed at Companies House.

The titles have previously benefited financially from the support of News Corp’s 82-year-old chief executive Rupert Murdoch.

“For several years now Times Newspapers has been losing money,” said Mr Witherow at a staff meeting.

“The company has tolerated this because it could use profits from elsewhere in News Corp to pay for our papers and because the proprietor has a passion for newspapers.

“I fear that era of being subsidised is coming to an end. The separation of the two companies means that the newspapers will form a bigger and more exposed element in the new News Corp.”

News Corp will be split into two separate companies at the end of this month. Its entertainment businesses, which include its lucrative television channels and film studios, will renamed 21st Century Fox. The less profitable publishing division, which also includes The Sun in Britain and The Wall Street Journal in the US, will retain the News Corp name.
Mr Witherow also said the editorial teams of The Times and The Sunday Times will not merge although the idea will be kept “under review”. The company is restricted from doing so by the ownership conditions imposed on Mr Murdoch when he bought the newspapers in 1981.

“It is important as much for commercial reasons as editorial that we keep the characters of the papers separate and this requires different staff in several areas,” said Mr Witherow.

He became acting editor of The Times in January after almost two decades at the helm of The Sunday Times. His appointment has not been made permanent because the independent directors of The Times, who have “the purpose of protecting editorial freedom from interference by the proprietor”, have refused to ratify it.

The previous editor of The Times, James Harding, stood down saying “it has been made clear to me that News Corporation would like to appoint a new editor”. The was made head of news by the BBC in April.

Leave a Reply