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August 20, 2007

Charity begins in the boardroom

By admin editorbloog

For all the challenges currently facing the media – the work of journalists still underpins an industry which is worth billions of pounds every year.

In the regional press, profit margins of 20 to 30 per cent are still the norm, as is the case for many B2B publishers.

National newspapers typically earn less cash for their owners, but the likes of Express Newspapers has delivered up to £1m a week to its owner in recent years.

The UK's biggest newspaper publisher, Trinity Mirror, made an operating profit of £207m in 2006 on turnover of £1,032m and Guardian Media Group has just announced full-year profits of £105.2m on turnover of £700.3m.

In 2006 Trinity Mirror made charitable donations of £68,000. Why, despite being approached by the Journalists' Charity, was none earmarked for its care home? The GMG annual report reveals that it made £503,731 of charitable donations in 2006 – yet again, despite being approached, it made no donation to the Journalists' Charity. As Press Gazette went to print last week, GMG told us it would be making a donation. Bravo.

News organisations expect a lot from their staff – and in the main, journalists deliver admirably. They work long hours above and beyond their contracts – sometimes to the extent that they make themselves ill – often because they are motivated by helping others. They know what they write matters because it can make a difference to people's lives.

The Journalists' Charity provides financial aid for thousands of journalists no longer able to help themselves – and cares full-time for many, and their dependents, through its fabulous new nursing home. But the charity's work could be undermined if cash is not found to cover a £3m shortfall in the cost of building Pickering House.

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Hopefully it has only been an oversight that so many of the big news organisations have yet to fulfil their responsibilities.

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