Some 100 new jobs are to be created at Guardian News and Media through the creation of a new 24/7 news operation, but editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger has said editorial redundancies cannot be ruled out in other areas.
GNM, which publishes The Guardian, The Observer and Guardian Unlimited, is about to embark on major changes in its digital operation, most notably with news being updated seven days a week around the clock.
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Rusbridger said apart from the Financial Times, he believes The Guardian and The Observer will be the only British newspapers working around the clock.
He said that the move reflects the group’s growing international audience and stated that journalists can’t continue to deliver news at times that only suit London schedules.
He added: “Our internal arrangements are still too much around print in our concentration, in our resources and technologies and we have to change that. We can’t let it happen as organically as it’s been happening in the past.
“It might seem like a statement of the obvious but what we have to do in fact entails some very radical thoughts about almost everything.”
GNM staff attended a meeting on Tuesday chaired by managing director Tim Brooks to discuss the group’s digital future, at which he predicted job losses.
Rusbridger said: “There’s no media organisation, no organisation in the world which can say it would rule out job losses.
“Tim Brooks didn’t dodge the issue that we had to look at our cost base and that in addition to hiring people we would be losing people as well.
“If you are going to move to a more digitally-based future you have to look at your resources and people and ask whether they are all doing exactly the right jobs. Logic tells you they’re not.
“The next question is, ‘can we redeploy the people we have?’ A lot of the 100 jobs being created are for web developers and web producers. We want to train everyone to fulfil their potential in the digital world.
“We all need training, and I include myself, in some of the new techniques we have.
“There are some highly specialised web development jobs that are unlikely to be able to be filled by people who have grown up in the print world.”
The Guardian’s NUJ house agreement has historically included a clause preventing compulsory redundancies.
Rusbridger said that all clauses were being considered and said he also hopes for a swift transition.
Rusbridger added: “One of the points I made is new media move extremely nimbly and quickly and it would be a classic old media mistake to get dragged into an endless industrial relations scenario in which you talk for months and months.
“It would have other people working in new media hugging themselves with glee because that is the advantage they have over us.”