An unexpected level of openness in today’s readers’ editor column in the Observer.
Stephen Pritchard is the readers’ editor in question and he writes about the crippling fall in advertising to have afflicted Guardian News & Media: revenues down £33m in six months.
In times past it fell to others to write gleefully about their rival’s distress, while the newspaper in question would be in silent denial.
Sure, Pritchard rallies the troops with three paragraphs of “good news” towards the end of the piece but not before he notes:
These are painful times here. Not so long ago, the Observer looked threatened with closure as losses across both titles reached a frightening £100,000 a day. Mercifully, that threat has receded, but the price of survival is a high one. Three of the four monthly magazines – Observer Woman, Observer Sport Monthly and Observer Music Monthly – must close, leaving only Observer Food Monthly still being published.
Whatever your opinion of them (and they were always controversial), these monthly magazines gave the Observer a distinction that marked it out from the other Sundays. The loss of their crackling creativity will undoubtedly affect circulation, but they were cripplingly expensive to produce; major surgery was necessary if the heart of the Observer was to keep beating.
No mention of the 100 or so job losses but, to be fair, mediaguardian.co.uk has been running that story since Wednesday.