Crisis at the Guardian

Parent company GNM is losing £100,000 a day but the Observer is set to survive

The revelation that losses at Guardian News & Media (GNM) are running at £100,000 a day has heightened the sense of crisis at the company and compulsory redundancies are now a serious prospect.

In an internal memo to staff on Monday, Tim Brooks, managing director of GNM, described the current losses as "unsustainable".

"We are looking at everything -- literally everything -- that we do, to see how we can economise, and we will do whatever we can to keep the impact on staff to a minimum. However, because the biggest portion of our costs is people's salaries, we have to review staffing levels," he said.

Brooks previously offered staff this jaunty advice: "It is more important than ever, at times like this, to keep work in perspective. So the other thing I ask you is this. Take the dog for a walk; take the kids for a swim; retune that engine; reread Jane Austen; buy in the popcorn and have a West Wing box-set weekend on the sofa -- please make sure you remember to do whatever it is that allows you to keep a clear head, and shake off the tensions of work."

Guardian journalists increasingly fear that editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger's hubristic ambition to transform GNM into the "world's leading liberal voice" has put the future of the paper itself in peril. The risk is that by the time a sustainable business model for free internet content emerges, as Chris Anderson, author of Free: the Future of a Radical Price (yours for £18.99), believes it will, the Guardian will have been destroyed.

Guardian Media Group, which reported pre-tax losses of £89.9m in July, still refuses to rule out closing the Observer in a bid to stem the losses.

But for now it seems likely that the company will opt instead for full integration of the two titles, in effect transforming the Observer into a Sunday Guardian. The move could sound the death knell for the Observer's popular monthly supplements and its stand-alone business section.

It is also no exaggeration to say that the Guardian faces a political crisis at the next election as it decides which party to endorse. It cannot credibly endorse Labour so long as Gordon Brown remains leader (as I expect he will), having called on the party to force him out.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Work with us: Wellcome Scholarship at the New Statesman

Be one of our 2016 science interns.

Britain needs more great science writers – particularly from backgrounds which have been traditionally under-represented in the media.

To address this, the New Statesman and Wellcome Trust, in partnership with Creative Access, have come together to offer annual placements to student or graduates from an ethnic minority background*.

The final 2016 placement will take place this Autumn/Winter (the exact date is flexible) and will last for four weeks.

Over the course of the placement, the successful applicants will:

  • Work alongside the New Statesman web and magazine team, learning about the editorial and production process, and how articles are conceived, written, edited and laid out;
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  • Receive regular feedback and editing from the editorial team
  • Meet journalists at other titles in the sector (previous Wellcome Scholars have met writers for the Atlantic, and presenters for the BBC)

Over the course of the placement, you will be paid London living wage.

To apply for the placement, follow the steps below and apply direct to the New Statesman. 

Please write an 800-word blogpost on a recent or upcoming scientific development which you feel has the potential to change lives significantly, explaining clearly and concisely what stage the research is at, and how it is likely to proceed. It should be written as if for the NS audience - interested, intelligent laypeople.

Please also write up to 200 words on why you are right for this placement and what you would hope to get out of it. You don't need to send a CV.

Please only use Word files, or paste your text into the body of an email. 

Send your application by email to Helen Lewis (Helen @ newstatesman co uk) with the subject line “Wellcome Scholarship 2016”. 

Applications close on 30 September 2016. Interviews will take place soon after.

This is a positive action scheme under the Race Relations Act.