German newspaper layoffs; to embrace AI for digital future

Germany's largest newspaper Bild eliminates editorial and production jobs, affects 200 out of 1,000 employees


German tabloid newspaper Bild is set to undergo significant changes as it prepares for a digital-only future. In its transition, Bild plans to reduce its regional operations, resulting in hundreds of job cuts. Publisher Axel Springer announced that it would shut down two-thirds of its regional offices and discontinue six out of its 18 regional editions. Moreover, the company plans to consolidate the production of Bild’s regional newspapers and manage regional reporters from Berlin. 

This move will lead to the elimination of various roles such as editors, photo editors, proofreaders, and other print production employees. While the exact number of job cuts has not been confirmed, it is expected to be around 200, impacting a workforce of approximately 1,000 employees.

Springer had previously informed its employees about the forthcoming job cuts as part of its digital transformation strategy. The company aims to become a fully digital publisher, with artificial intelligence (AI) playing a crucial role in its operations. Although a spokesperson for Bild clarified that the job losses are unrelated to AI implementation, they acknowledged that  technology would support journalists in their work by enhancing efficiency and providing more time for creativity. The spokesperson emphasised that journalists would always verify and validate AI-generated results.

However, according to the internal memo shared with CNN, Springer expressed the need for an ‘AI offensive’ to facilitate the transition to digital-only operations. The memo stated that the majority of jobs involved in print production would be at risk due to AI’s potential to fully automate the layout of the printed newspaper. The company acknowledged that some employees might be unable to find a place within the new digital setup or might have their tasks replaced by AI or digital processes, leading to their separation from the organisation.

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