After Publicitas exit: Ticino daily Giornale del Popolo to be discontinued

The Ticino newspaper Giornale del Popolo will cease publication on Saturday. The sudden end is due to the bankruptcy of Publicitas. This affects 30 employees.


Ticino has reacted with shock and disbelief to the sudden closure of the church-affiliated Giornale del Popolo. Politicians and public figures expressed their dismay to the media. Industry insiders, on the other hand, are not surprised: the end was foreseeable.

The trade association Impressum noted the end of the newspaper "with dismay". The Syndicom trade union is calling on the publisher to assume its social responsibility and enter into negotiations on a social plan. He owes this to the commitment and sacrifice of the Giornale del Popolo employees over the years.

According to a spokesperson for Giornale del Popolo, the situation and the future fate of the employees will be discussed in more detail at a works meeting on Friday. So far, there is no social plan for the employees.

The daily newspaper, which is based on Catholic values, has survived up to now thanks to a high proportion of advertising revenue, but this collapsed following the recent bankruptcy of Publicitas. The end of Publicitas has resulted in a loss of revenue of CHF 400,000.

Editor-in-chief appeals to investors

In an interview with the Italian-speaking Swiss radio station RSI, editor-in-chief Alessandra Zumthor appealed to investors to support the newspaper. With a budget of 4.6 million francs, only 400,000 francs were ultimately needed to keep the Giornale del Popolo alive.

In a press release, main shareholder Bishop Velerio Lazzeri apologized to the employees of Giornale del Popolo and explained that "modalities are being examined to make the consequences of this forced closure as painless as possible".

The paper originally belonged to the "Opera diocesana Giornale del Popolo". Since 2004, 51 percent of the newspaper has been owned by the diocese of Lugano. The remaining 49 percent is owned by Società Editrice Corriere del Ticino via TImedia Holding, as stated on its website.

Moving history

The Giornale del Popolo looks back on an eventful history. Founded in 1926 by the then Bishop Aurelio Bacciarini, it always remained connected to the Catholic Church and was owned by it in varying proportions. Bacciarini wanted to create a newspaper that would maintain the influence of the Catholic Church on Ticino society despite the extremely strong party-political polarization in the southern canton at the time.

The long tenure of the first editor-in-chief, Alfredo Leber, gave the paper continuity over the first half century. At the beginning of the 1980s, however, the paper lost market share and had to reorient itself. After a brief experimental phase under the left-liberal Silvano Toppi, the right-wing Catholic Bishop Eugenio Corecco appointed a new editor-in-chief in 1984.

Readers in the countryside

The paper was mainly read in rural areas and the valleys. However, this made it less interesting for the advertising market. It therefore had to fight for its existence time and again.

In the mid-1990s, Fillippo Lombardi, the long-time editorial director and current member of the Council of States, tried to embellish the circulation figures. He promptly fell into the clutches of the public prosecutor's office. This cost him the leadership of his party, the CVP.

At the beginning of the year, the Giornale del Popolo separated from the daily newspaper after 14 years of collaboration. Corriere del Ticino and had gone their own ways again. Among other things, various visions for the future were cited as the reason for the separation at the time. The cooperation mainly involved advertising and some editorial content. (SDA)

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