Crunch hits the Independent hardest

Sweeping job cuts at the Independent in London mean Tony O’Reilly is committed to the two titles, says media guru Roy Greenslade. Otherwise, he’d sell the youngest, smallest and most expensive of the English quality papers. The Belfast Telegraph is more than ever relied on take the company into very modest profit, offsetting the Indy’s losses, not always to the delight of the Bel Tel staff.

The Independent is loss-making but has been backed by profits generated by the Belfast Telegraph. As advertising revenue slows at the Northern Ireland paper, The Independent’s losses have become more critical.

Other heavies, the Times and the Guardian make even bigger losses but are supported by bigger companies, especially the Times of course. Cuts in Trinity Mirror eat into the regional press. No news yet of fresh cuts in the Republic’s press apart from shamrock editions of the Mail, but can these be long delayed? All papers will be quaking at the prospect of dramatically falling advertising. If ads and revenue generally fell with circulation during boom time, what’s going to hit them now?

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London