Tamedia merges two editorial offices in Bern and cuts 20 jobs

Tamedia is merging the editorial offices of the Berner Zeitung and Bund in Bern and is expected to cut 20 full-time positions. However, the two titles are to remain independent. The company, which belongs to the TX Group, made the announcement on Thursday.

The newly established management team of BZ and Bund: Marcello Odermatt, Sandra Rutschi, Patrick Freuz, Florine Schönmann, Regula Fuchs, Stephan Künzi, Simon Bärtschi, Stefan Schnyder, Wolf Röcken and Chantal Desbiolles (from left to right).

The company, which is part of the TX Group, announced Thursday that the reorganization will be defined in more detail in the coming months. The two editorial teams will be involved. The job cuts will depend on the results of this consultation, it said. As far as possible, it is to be carried out through natural fluctuation.

Otherwise, a social plan will be applied. The editorial offices of Bernese Newspaper (BZ) and Confederation currently consist of around a hundred people, who fill around 70 full-time positions. In the future, about 70 people will work in 50 positions, as Tamedia co-managing director Marco Boselli told the Keystone-SDA news agency in response to an inquiry.

Tamedia intends to continue the two newspapers as separate offerings. The Covenant is to be positioned as a newspaper in which the opinion and debate sections are strengthened and in which broader foreign and cultural reporting can be found.

The BZ is to focus on more comprehensive regional reporting and on sports. According to their own figures, the two newspapers currently reach a total audience of around 420,000 with their print and online editions.

The Syndicom trade union criticized in a statement that the job cuts were being made "without necessity". Tamedia had achieved a profit before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of eleven million francs last year. The redundancies should be reduced to a minimum. A fair social plan should be presented for the unavoidable part of the reduction.

The end of the "Bern model

Bern's mayor Alec von Graffenried (GFL) spoke on Thursday of a "black day for Bern". The journalistic competition between two editorial teams had so far ensured a differentiated, critical and independent public debate. Now Tamedia is sacrificing this so-called "Bern model" to economic considerations.

Also for Sheila Matti of the Personnel Commission of the Bernese Newspaper the merger of the two editorial offices means the end of the "Bern model" as it is known today. It is probably not wrong to speak of a "one-size-fits-all" approach that is now threatening, Matti added when asked.

According to the statement, the Bernese cantonal government believes that there is now a risk of "impoverishment" of Bern as a media center.

Boselli did not deny on Thursday that the merger of the editorial offices means the end of the "Bern model". The new unified editorial office will report jointly on a region, not against each other anymore.

However, the Tamedia co-managing director does not rule out the possibility of future Confederation and BZ different comments appeared, for example, on voting results. However, this is still to be defined now, he said. Tamedia will remain the largest media player on the Bern square and will continue to ensure good reporting.

A new magazine in response?

Tamedia had already announced at the end of October last year that Confederation and Bernese Newspaper will have to work more closely together in the future. Previously, TX Group had announced that it would cut several dozen journalistic jobs following a loss of CHF 106 million in the first half of 2020. (SDA)

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