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Observer In Spotlight As GMG Wrestles With Downturn

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How do you solve a problem like Observer? Guardian Media Group isn’t commenting on reports in The Sunday Times and Financial Times that it could “close” the world’s oldest Sunday newspaper. says GMG’s Guardian News & Media, which operates The Guardian as well as The Observer but which “exists to secure the financial and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity”, is writing a three-year strategy plan. One element, both reports say, has been to produce a dummy copy of an Observer weekly news magazine, published on a Thursday; The Times says a compromise has been found to continue publishing a “slimmed-down” version of the Sunday newspaper, which had an average 409,970 circulation in June.

The whistle appears to have been blown by alarmed senior Observer journalists. A weekly news mag may pit The Observer against the likes of Newsweek, The Economist and the New Statesman; but the reports say nothing’s yet decided. After reporting an £89.8 million annual loss for GMG on Friday, CEO Carolyn McCall said: “Can we afford it this year? Yes, but can we afford it for the next three years? No.