We should have seen the writing on the wall when the fish and chip shops started to close and more still when they abandoned yesterday’s paper in favour of plain wrapping. Yesterday the Guardian Media Group (GMG) admitted that it might close The Observer in an attempt to reduce debts, which are approaching £90 million.
The review of the Guardian’s products is being by led by editor in chief Alan Rusbridger with a decison planned to be taken by the autumn. It is difficult to see how the paper can continue when much of the editorial team has already been integrated with the Guardian and management have already intimated that it may go.
The existence of Trusts (GMG is owned by the Scott Trust) and proprietors that are prepared to shore up losses mean that a rationalisation of the UKs national newspapers is well overdue. We have seen the process start with pressure on regional titles and with the big circulation city titles in the States. I always believed that the Sunday People would be the first to go and that no-one would really notice. Whilst we have seen short lived nationals like Today and The European close The Observer has been around since 1791 and its demise would be unprecedented. It looks now like it may be the first major national newspaper to close. It won’t be the last.