Despite creating 40 “new jobs” as recently as last month, Telegraph Media Group is to axe 50 journalists’ posts before Christmas, and the sports desk is unlikely to be immune.
Clive White, the tennis and football writer, and sports features writer Alison Kervin are understood to be among casualties of the latest cuts, which will also see a reduction in the Daily Telegraph‘s pagination.
The latest cuts represent a 13-14 per cent saving to the editorial budget. Members of the National Union of Journalists at the company have passed a chapel motion deploring the redundancies, and accepting a three-year pay deal.
In a letter to staff this week, the TMG chief executive, Murdoch MacLennan, described the current economic climate as “the most serious recession in our lifetimes”, adding that every business in the country was being affected.
“It is perhaps being felt more acutely in the media where we are having to weather not just the general economic storm but the double hit of falling advertising revenues and vastly increased newsprint prices, at the same time as we deal with major structural change in the industry,” MacLennan said.
“Although we are trying to create a dynamic multimedia company here, with market-leading papers at its core, the same structural problems afflicting the whole industry impact on us too. While our digital revenues continue to grow, we are still heavily reliant on display and classified revenues.”
The cuts at the Telegraph come in a month when the Independent announced 90 job cuts and Trinity Mirror 78 cuts at its regional titles in north-west England and Wales, while equally far-reaching cuts are being made at the Daily Mail and London Evening Standard.
Click here for a timeline chart of job losses in the media industry (from mediaguardian.co.uk).
The Telegraph’s sports desk seems to have carried the brunt of a series of cuts throughout 2008, since the arrival as head of sport of Mark Skipworth.
Although new columnists, including former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan and Internazionale coach Jose Mourinho, have been signed up, a succession of senior sports journalists have left. Most recently, leading cricket and rugby writer Martin Johnson left the title. Kervan, who is understood may continue to contribute to the paper, was only taken on to contribute weekly sports interviews less than a year ago, following Sue Mott being made redundant.
More on sports desk job cuts:
Standard‘s Chadband among casualties in Derry St
Martin Johnson latest to leave the Telegraph
Fraser quits Independent to return to Middlesex
Express to cut more than 70 jobs
Publishers pull the plug on two football blogs
Harry Harris to leave Express
Sports desk at centre of Telegraph concern
Brighton’s weekly sports paper to close
NUJ chapel protest at Independent‘s sports cuts
Mossop and Phillip leave Telegraph
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