Irish media organisations including Journal Media and Communicorp are to impose wage cuts as the industry faces decline in advertising revenue.
Journal Media will impose staff pay cuts of up to 20% and close its business website fora.ie becoming the latest media organisation to outline cost-cutting plans to combat the significant drop in advertising revenue caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Staff were briefed of the changes this week which will also see its sports website the42.ie scaled back with most of its journalists being made part-time.
The company told the Irish Examiner that it had seen a dramatic and unprecedented drop in advertising revenue as a result of the Covid-19 crisis similar to other news and media organisations.
In a statement, it said: “We had to put measures in place to protect this important service and the future of our company. These include pay cuts across the company and most, unfortunately, ceasing to publish our business news site Fora.ie.
At this time when local news and quality information is of particular importance to our society, it is essential that we take action to protect and sustain indigenous news publishers.
Communicorp Media has also been forced to impose staff pay cuts of up to 25%. The company operates a number of radio and digital media channels including TodayFM, Newstalk, Spin Southwest and Dublin 98FM. It is understood the pay cuts will impact all staff at Communicorp but will be imposed in bands with the highest earners facing the biggest cuts.
Regional newspapers have also seen a significant impact caused by the sudden closure of most of Ireland’s businesses, which has resulted in advertising revenue fall of up to 70%.
The Celtic Media Group, which includes the Anglo-Celt newspaper in Cavan and the Connaught Telegraph, has furloughed a number of staff on a temporary basis. Iconic Newspapers which publishes a number of titles including the Limerick Leader and the Dundalk Democrat has also announced layoffs.
Johnny O’Hanlon, director of Local Ireland which represents local newspaper titles, told RTÉ’s Today with Seán O’Rourke that a minister for media was required and called for the government to “step in and advertise in local newspapers”.
The impact of Covid-19 on the media industry is not confined to Ireland. In London, titles including City AM and the Evening Standard have made cuts to their print editions and reporters face significant salary cuts. In the US traditional news outlets were facing similar cuts while digital news company BuzzFeed announced that it would have to cut staff pay.