British news organization The Guardian announced Thursday it would cut 30% of its U.S. workforce over the next several months, according to reports.
A source with knowledge of the company’s plans told Politico that the Guardian would cut about 50 jobs from its 150-member U.S. operation in an effort to boost revenue amid falling ad sales and lower than expected revenue projections.
The cuts will reportedly be made both through buyouts for unionized editorial staff and through layoffs.
According to CNN, the announcement of the cuts came as a shock to some of the company’s employees, who participated in a question-and-answer session with management on Thursday. The Guardian‘s U.S. operation launched in 2011 and won a Pulitzer Prize in 2014 for its coverage of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks.
In an email to employees on Thursday, Guardian Media Group CEO David Pemsel and editor-in-chief Kath Viner cited a “seismic shift” in the publishing industry’s business model for “adversely impacting” revenue.
“The full impact of these changes will bring Guardian US closer to its target of break even in 2017/18 and provide a clearer financial framework for Guardian US for the years up to 2021 and beyond,” the pair wrote in an email obtained by Politico. “However, as in London, we will continue to take the necessary action to manage the cost base in a volatile market in order to protect Guardian journalism in perpetuity.”
The company said it would retain newsrooms in New York, San Francisco and Washington DC, and added that it would further save money by freezing recruitment and cutting spending in its marketing and consultancy departments.
The union representing the employees at the Guardian said in a statement Thursday that it was “deeply disappointed” by the company’s decision.
“However, management has committed to working with the union to decide how cuts will be made,” the statement added. “We are committed to fighting for fair and equitable treatment for the entire Guardian US editorial staff for as long as it takes.”