There will be no pay cut or lay-off at ThePrint: Shekhar Gupta
'Audiences have gone up more than three times on key platforms, but higher numbers do not translate into higher revenues'
As the media industry grapples with the news and rumours of pay cuts and lay offs, Shekhar Gupta Chairman & Editor-in-Chief of ThePrint, has given much relief to his employees, announcing that there will be no pay cuts at the organization.
"I understand the many apprehensions and concerns in all our minds. The carnage in almost all other media organisations is fuelling further anxiety. It is time for tough, unpleasant decisions, we can understand. It is correct that news media’s survival is at stake. Everybody is taking drastic decisions and I do understand if many of you are asking questions, or expressing fears."
"Let me, therefore, set all of these at rest. There will be no pay cuts at ThePrint. We work on some philosophical beliefs. That we must always be a meritocracy where everybody’s paid what they deserve is a principle we will never violate," Gupta said in a statement.
However, he did acknowledge that the inustry is going through a very tough time and revenue is tough to come by, even if there is an increase in the number of readers.
"These are challenging times in every profession across the world. These are tougher still for all first-line responders, including us journalists. We take enormous pride in what our brilliant reporting/editing/camera teams have done over the past three months. Our audiences have gone up more than three times on key platforms. All our social media handles are seeing much better numbers and engagement too."
"It is also a tough reality, however, that higher numbers do not translate into higher revenues today, as they might have in normal times. Across platforms, even with three times the numbers, our net revenues are down because advertisers are holding back."
Gupta said that the diffucult economic conditions are forcing advertisers to stay away.
"There is an economic downturn not seen in our lives. Nobody knows when it will end. When the economy collapses, everybody cuts expenses. The first expense companies cut is advertising and promotion. It is a discretionary spend. And we can’t contest the logic that if nobody’s buying anything, what’s the point of advertising your wares. If Maruti didn’t sell even one car in all of April, why should they advertise?," said Gupta.
"I mention this not to scare ourselves more than we might already be. But to also underline that while we journalists have difficulties, the challenge for our marketing/sales team is more formidable. They have to find juice in a bone-dried up market. So, if news media is to survive this, they are its brave first responders too.
Altogether, it’s been an extremely gratifying experience. Any crisis is an opportunity, and we certainly aren’t wasting it. So, congratulations all. This is a very tough situation. But professionally, I have seen much tougher financial situations in the history of another fine organisation. One thing I have never done is cut salaries. Or enforce lay-offs. I am not about to do this now. We will, of course continue to be a professional meritocracy. So, junk all fears.
"Extraordinary situations also call for extraordinary effort. I acknowledge that all of us are contributing brilliantly. But it is, in the famous words of Winston Churchill, the beginning of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. We are building an institution in quick time, at digital pace, but old-style diligence. ThePrint needs and deserves even greater commitment and contribution."
It is an opportunity for us to cement and expand our distinctive editorial identity. Fair, factual, enterprising, brave, imaginative, un-hyphenated. Trust, truth and courage are the most valuable attributes for a news media brand. We are set on a great course. We need to hold our nerve, stay on it, and accelerate."
"The next several months will be tougher, as the economy and markets dry up further. But once we are over this hump, there will be much well-earned success to savour. My gratitude to all for the great work you do, giving me the reflected glory to bask in. Warm best wishes, please take care and be safe," he conluded.
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