Times of India, the leading Indian English daily newspaper and digital media, laid off over 20 journalists in Kerala, Telangana and Tamil Nadu once again, following the Covid-19 pandemic on Wednesday, The News Minute reported.
In the umpteenth round of laying off, pay cuts and shut down of editions by the Times Group, 15 journalists from the editorial desk and five journalists from the Kochi Times have been laid off, including senior editors with several years of experience.
According to the report, journalists in Kerala who were directly affected by the lay off said that they were asked to submit their resignations over a WhatsApp call without any prior information about being terminated.
Citing losses incurred by Time of India‘s parent company Bennett Coleman and Company Limited (BCCL) in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, The News Minute quoted a source stating that the company’s project revenues for 2020 were one-fifth of what it usually made before the pandemic and hence the decision was taken post budgeting “to do a second round of downsizing, bringing it to half its earlier strength”.
The source added that there will be another session of budgeting, following which “the paper will decide if it needs to downsize more or adjust with pay cuts for the remaining staff”.
Times of India has laid off five journalists in Tamil Nadu– one from Trichy and Madurai each while 10 journalists have been laid off by the Hyderabad bureau as well. An employee working with the Sunday Times and two other staff members have been laid off from their Bengaluru office.
The laying off is not limited to a particular desk but has been done across departments including finance, editorial, HR, marketing, and circulation, among others.
Silverscreen India tried to reach out to a few journalists at the Times of India Tamil Nadu, Bengaluru and Hyderabad for a comment, but they did not respond.
In December 2020, the Times Group had announced that two of its daily publications, Mumbai Mirror and Pune Mirror – will cease publication. Mumbai Mirror will be relaunched as a weekly and will continue to have a strong digital presence.
The media industry suffered a massive setback during the pandemic-induced economic crisis in 2020, with numerous journalists across the globe losing their jobs.
The Times of India Group had announced pay-cuts and layoffs in April 2020.
In May 2020, the media giant asked two employees at Andhra Pradesh bureau and nine employees at Times Group’s Bengali daily Ei Samay to resign, the Newslaundry reported. In Kerala, two bureaus were set to close and 13 journalists in the same state were laid off as circulation of editions across nine districts in the state were closed.
Journalists from BCCL’s business paper, The Economic Times, were also asked to leave in May 2020.
Other media houses in India that faced similar a crisis were the Indian Express Group, Hindustan Times Media Limited, Business Standard Limited and the Quintillion Media Private Limited, and HuffPost India.
Bloomberg News, the financial news company and one of the world’s largest news organisation, had sent a memo to the staff informing that around 90 journalists will be laid off to restructure its newsroom in February 2021. The memo mentioned that the restructuring of the newsroom would include laying off mostly senior editors.
Inputs from Shrija Ganguly.