News International Makes Seven Percent Staff Cuts Amid Digital Investments

News International, News Corporation’s UK newspaper publishing arm, as first reported in The Guardian, announced it will ax almost 100 of its 1,400 editorial staff across its national titles in a cost-cutting exercise prompted by falling revenue and the necessity to focus on digital.

From Chairman Les Hinton’s email to staff: “This is necessary because newspaper revenues are coming under pressure at a time when other costs are rising and we are also investing in digital media. Our competitors have all announced job cuts and efficiency programs over the past 12-18 months, many on a far larger scale. (Reuters). News International‘s portfolio includes The Times (losing 30) and News of the World (20) plus The Sun and Sunday Times (reportedly expecting another 50 losses combined). The company is seeking savings variously reported as £30 (£60) million (Reuters) and £10 ($20) million (Brand Republic). The Sunday Times alone must make savings of £2.5 ($5) million (Press Gazette). The company is seeking voluntary redundancies.

When faced with what newspaper proprietors used to regard as the digital threat, one school of thought advises to invest in the future. News International has had some online launches in the last year — Times Online had a major redesign in February at an estimated cost of £10 ($5) million and The Sun’s MySun networking portal (not actually connected to MySpace — News Corp. hasn’t integrated that acquisition) is chugging along nicely while further developments are expected. Meanwhile, News Corp. is in the process of courting Dow Jones for a $5 billion acquisition – the hot-button issue in those talks has been the integrity with which reporters can do their jobs with Rupert Murdoch in charge.