News media job cuts in the UK and North America ran at the rate of 1,000 jobs a month in the first quarter of 2023, Press Gazette analysis has found.
Across Q1 2023 there were at least 3,340 job cuts reported or announced at publishers in the UK, US and Canada.
The figures suggest that the uptick in redundancies that began in mid-2022 has yet to abate.
Most publishers making redundancies attributed their cuts to a decline in advertising revenue prompted by recession fears and on the impact on the bottom line of rises in the prices of energy and raw materials such as paper.
More than one-third of the announced job cuts tracked by Press Gazette came at News Corp, which in February said it was planning a 5% reduction in headcount, “or around 1,250 positions”.
Chief executive Robert Thomson told investors the downsizing would occur “across all businesses, and it will be conducted in [the] coming months with a view to concluding this calendar year”.
Thomson attributed the business’ financial problems to rising interest rates and inflation. A weakening pound had also hit revenues at News UK specifically.
The next largest cuts of the quarter came at American digital radio brand Sirius XM, which told employees in March that it planned to reduce its employee numbers by 8%, or 475 roles.
And Dotdash Meredith, which publishes titles including Entertainment Weekly and People Magazine, told employees in late January it would lay off 274 staff, equating to approximately 7% of its workforce.
The cuts at those three companies account for more than half of all the news media layoffs tracked by Press Gazette in the three months.
DC Thomson, similarly, said it would be shrinking headcount by 300 roles in February, although 30 of those roles were saved through a sale of the Aceville magazine portion of the business to Enthuse Group.
Other major layoffs came at Vox Media in January (133 staff across revenue, editorial, operations and core services); Smartnews, also in January (120 people comprising 40% of the workforce); NPR in February (“at least 100 people”, comprising 10% of the workforce); and NBC News and MSNBC in January (75 employees).
There were cuts of an undetermined size, meanwhile, at Mail publisher DMGT, which made some staff redundant as part of reorganisations affecting Metro, the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday and the company’s ad sales team.
And Gal-dem, a prominent digital outlet founded in 2015 to cover women and non-binary people of colour, closed wholesale with the loss of around a dozen jobs saying that “continuing to operate as a business is unfortunately no longer feasible”.
Although not included in the figures above because much of its work is outside the English language, arguably the most proportionally drastic cuts of the quarter were at the France-based TV news channel Euronews, which Le Monde reported in March planned to lay off more than 40% of its 478 staff. Those plans, part of a drive to make Euronews relevant to a wider group of Europeans, would however entail the hiring of 100 new roles in Belgium, as well as the creation of satellite offices in various European capitals.
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