Friday, February 15, 2008

How big’s the newsroom of the newspaper you read?

Front page of the Ulster Star

You could count the number of people who work for the average provincial newspaper (eg, Lisburn’s Ulster Star) on your fingers. Granted, there are more people involved contributing columns and free articles and running the printing presses. But their Christmas party wouldn’t a particularly big venue.

Scale that up to a UK national newspaper. My (uninformed) gut feeling is that there would be a couple of hundred working on the main paper - must take three or four people to write the material on a page, and not all work every day - and perhaps the same again on the multiple pullouts and specialist sections published throughout the week.

logo of The New York Times

So the Valentines Day news for The New York Times staff was that their newsroom had maxed out with a massive 1,332 staff. Wow. One thousand, three hundred and thirty two editorial staff. But due to budget pressures, they are having to “axe around 100 editorial jobs”. Media Guardian explains ...

Bill Keller, the paper's executive editor, told staff yesterday that the title had its highest ever headcount, and that cuts would have to be made through contract buyouts, attrition and some lay-offs.

Despite some cutbacks at the title, editorial numbers have risen as the paper recruited heavily for its internet operation in recent years.

But growing financial concerns, including a 4.7% drop in advertising revenue for the New York Times Company last year, have fuelled the decision to cut staff. Shares in the company rose nearly 5% after the announcement.

The New York Times' own website reported that the paper's editorial budget is around $200m (£102m), of which about $3m is spent on coverage of Iraq. An extended US presidential campaign has also pushed editorial costs up.

Wonder what the comparative figures would be for Times, Telegraph, Guardian, Independent and FT? Bet the Indy’s the smallest of the lot? And what about the Irish News, Newsletter, Belfast Telegraph, Irish Times?

No comments: