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Does it matter if The Observer closes?

Much speculation this week that The Observer, Sunday sister paper of The Guardian (both of which are owned by Guardian News and Media under the beneficent custodianship of The Scott Trust), is on the brink of being closed down, and perhaps converted into a weekly news magazine. This follows some disastrous financial results for the Guardian Media Group, which recorded a pre-tax loss of almost £90m in 2008-09, £37m of which was contributed by GNM. As the Financial Times reported earlier this week:

GNM has started work on a three-year strategic plan, including radical measures aimed at assuring the future of The Guardian, the group’s daily newspaper, a senior figure in the group said.

The plan is aimed not so much at addressing a fall in newspaper advertising revenues caused by the economic downturn but at surviving the effects of a longer-term shift by readers and advertisers to the internet. …
No decisions have been made on the future of The Observer under the strategic plan but closure of the title in its present form has not been ruled out. According to a person close to the management of The Observer, staff became alarmed last week when they discovered a secret “dummy” of a weekly news magazine with their own title’s branding on it.

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