Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Express this

Some people shouldn't be allowed to own national newspapers. Richard Desmond is one of those.

Yesterday's decision to cut 35 jobs – including the entire City desk – is further evidence of this.

Former porn baron Desmond seems to be using the paper as a cash cow and pension fund. Last year, he received £27.2m in payouts and pension funds from the Express Group.

This week, he cuts 35 staff to ensure the "company remains in a sound financial position"!

No seriously, that's what group editorial director Paul Ashford told staff.

"We need to act quickly to ensure that the company remains in a sound financial position and circulations can continue to be supported.

"Very regrettably, this may mean approximately 30 to 35 redundancies across the editorial department plus tighter controls on freelance costs and contribution budgets."

The City desk could probably explain to Desmond that if you take out almost £30m out of the business, things are not going to be so financially sound.

Solution? Sack the entire City desk and replace it with Press Association copy. It's a first for a national newspaper: a title without a City desk.

The Express has been shoddy for years, this is just another nail in its coffin. In the latest ABC figures, the title dropped 1.27% to 818,942, but its six-month average circulation fall was sharper, down by 4.80%.

My guess is that in the not-too-distant future, Desmond will sell the Express after he has taken out of it all that he can.

Earlier in the month, the Daily Express dismissed six trainee journalists just one month into their two-year contracts following "a re-evaluation of the group's internet strategy".

Errr which one is that?

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