July 27, 2016

A total of 268 employees are taking buyouts at The Guardian as the paper attempts to stem more than $227 million in losses from the last financial year.

The newspaper is losing some of its most prominent leaders and bylines in the exodus: Aron Pilhofer, the The Guardian’s executive editor of digital, is joining Temple University as the school’s James B. Steele Chair in Journalism Innovation. Politico reported Wednesday that a trio of marquee names are also on their way out: Middle East editor Ian Black, senior digital editor Matt Wells and defense and security specialist Richard Norton-Taylor.

The layoffs come as The Guardian’s business model, which is based on selling ads against a massive audience, is being tested by numerous challenges: The rise of ad-blocking, a shift toward advertising on social networks and a rough advertising market in the wake of the Brexit referendum.

Meanwhile, The Guardian is placing its revenue hopes in a membership model, which many staffers at the newspaper doubt can reverse revenue declines, according to Politico.

Alan Rusbridger, the former longtime editor of The Guardian, was a champion of the newspaper’s free content strategy that was based on dramatically expanding its readership. Rusbridger was slated to become chairman of The Scott Trust, which owns Guardian Media Group, but he was forced to abandon that appointment as The Guardian’s tenuous financial position became clear.

Correction: A previous version of this story said more than 250 journalists had accepted buyouts at The Guardian. In fact, more than 250 employees have accepted buyouts.

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
Benjamin Mullin

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