Digital publisher Journal Media is to close its business site Fora.ie, scale back its sports website the42.ie and cut staff pay by between 5-20 per cent to offset a fall in advertising revenue due to the coronavirus crisis.
The group includes theJournal.ie, Fora.ie, the42.ie, and a new investigative platform noteworthy.ie. Staff were informed of the cutbacks in a series of meetings on Monday.
Most of the journalists working for its sports news site the42.ie are to be made part-time. The group’s business site Fora.ie is to be closed. Staff who remain working full time are to receive a pay cut of between five and 20 per cent.
It is understood the 20 per cent rate will apply to higher earners in the company.
The cutbacks come on foot of a drop in advertising revenue due to the financial impacts on the wider economy of the coronavirus outbreak. The measures are to be reviewed by management in three months time, staff were told.
Susan Daly, managing editor of Journal Media, said the publisher has seen "a dramatic and unprecedented drop in advertising revenue as a result of the Covid-19 crisis."
“This sudden decline and the uncertainty of when commercial activity will return to normal levels is a real threat to the existence of the news service which TheJournal.ie provides free to the public,” she told The Irish Times.
“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,” she said.
“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,” she said.
The owner of the country’s largest independent radio stations including Newstalk and Today FM is to cut staff wages by up to 25 per cent as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.
Communicorp, which is owned by businessman Denis O'Brien, informed employees at all its stations on Tuesday that it is introducing pay cuts because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its business.
It is understood a pay cut of 10 per cent will be imposed on the first €30,000 of income of all staff, rising to 12.5 per cent for the income band between €30,000 and €60,000. Elements of a salary between €60,000 and €120,000 are to be reduced by 15 per cent, with any income above €120,000 subject to a cut of 25 per cent.
Newsbrands Ireland, who represent the newspaper industry, has warned the Government of the drastic financial impacts the Covid-19 crisis may have on the media sector, due to collapsing advertising revenues.
The financial hit will be felt significantly by local and regional newspapers, the lobby group warned.
Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Iconic Newspapers, which publishes more than 20 titles including the Limerick Leader and Dundalk Democrat, and the smaller Celtic Media Group have both announced layoffs.
The news publishing industry, as well as television and radio broadcasting have been listed as essential services during the public health crisis.