The Nation Media Group has announced to its staff that it will close
the Daily Metro, a title targeting low income earners, blaming the
global recession and massive financial losses for the decision, writes
Dennis Itumbi for journalism.co.za.
According to insiders, top management announced the decision in an editorial meeting saying "there was urgent need to save on staff and publication costs".
A brief confirmation email sent out to all Nation Media staff said: "this is to inform you of discontinued publication of the Daily Metro with effect from 20th April 2009."
An independent source within the Daily Metro staff confirmed, "we will be doing our last copy of the paper on Friday this week, before closing shop on Monday"
The group further announced that only ten percent of the workforce at Daily Metro would be absorbed in other titles, while the rest will be declared redundant.
The respected Expression Today recently called the Daily Metro the best newspaper for 2008: ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe Paper has to be declared the best for its excellent editorial team, its strength to resist temptations to get into politics and for keeping its price at only Shs.20 throughout."
Over 50 journalists will be affected by the move and tens of support staff will also be laid off.
The paper was developed as a reaction to the emergence of Nairobi Star, a tabloid published by Radio Africa.
The Journalist Association of Kenya (JAK) said in an interview that the move by East Africa's largest media house could spark mass layoffs across media houses in the region and warned that it would not take the issue lightly.
Jacque Ooko, Jak's president said, "We will not sit back and allow employers to use the excuse to begin laying off carelessly, there must be credible arguments for such drastic moves."
According to its Internet Page, "The Daily Metro is an informative, easy to read social tabloid, launched in September 2007.
"It is bright, readable and with heavy use of graphics. It is published Monday to Fridays and retails at only Kshs 20. Distribution is 65% Nairobi & 35% upcountry"