Thursday 17 September 2009

GMG says Observer will not close

Guardian Media Group this evening said in a statement that the Observer, the world's oldest Sunday newspaper, will not be closed but will be given a "new-look" and be more closely integrated with the Guardian.
The announcement was made just days before a 'Stand Up for The Observer' rally is due to take place in London on Monday, headed by celebrities and high profile journalists.
The GMG statement said: "As announced earlier this year, Guardian News & Media (GNM) is conducting a strategic review of its operations. One element of the wider process was a review of weekend publishing, which considered a range of different products and editorial structures across Saturday and Sunday. As a result of this review, GNM will develop its current weekend offering and introduce a greater degree of integration between the editorial teams of the Guardian and Observer.
"In research readers responded very positively to a new-look Observer developed by editor John Mulholland and his team, and to new ideas for the Saturday Guardian. The further editorial integration will continue a process that began before the two titles moved to a common home at Kings Place."
In an internal email to staff today Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of GNM, warned of the possibility of further job cuts and said that a voluntary redundancy scheme would be reopened.
Rusbridger said in a statement: "Given the present state of recession and digital transition there isn't a media group in the world that isn't reviewing its publishing operations and the nature of its journalism. The weekend review has been rigorous and very helpful in understanding the changing needs of readers. A new-look Observer produced by John Mulholland and his team, and new ideas for the Saturday Guardian, were extremely well received. As a result of the review we will be publishing a formidable weekend package – with two papers that complement each other, each retaining a distinctive tone and voice."

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