Jewish Chronicle goes into liquidation due to the coronavirus crisis

Ellena Cruse
PA

The Jewish Chronicle and Jewish News are entering into liquidation after not being able to “survive” the effects of coronavirus.

The news providers are set to enter into the phase in the next two to three weeks, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

Staff have also lost their jobs, The Guardian reported, although this has not been confirmed.

Lots of news publications, particular print editions, have struggled since lockdown measures were put in place to tackle Covid-19, with many journalists being put on furlough or made to take pay cuts.

The timing of the announcement coincides with the start of the Jewish Passover festival and comes as more than 7,000 people have died in the UK from the virus.

The London-based publication released a statement on Wednesday about the liquidation process, but did not comment about its employees.

“With great sadness, the board of the Jewish Chronicle has taken the decision to seek a creditors voluntary liquidation of Jewish Chronicle Newspapers Ltd,” the statement said.

“Despite the heroic efforts of the editorial and production team at the newspaper, it has become clear that the Jewish Chronicle will not be able to survive the impact of the current coronavirus epidemic in its current form.

“The liquidation is expected to be finalised in the coming two to three weeks and every effort will be made to ensure that the paper continues to be published over this period and the website continues to provide regular updates.”

It added that the owners of the Jewish Chronicle, The Kessler Foundation, are actively working to “secure a future” for the publication after liquidation.

“Further announcements regarding this will be made in the coming days,” it added.

Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard said on Twitter: “I won’t be saying anything beyond confirming that the paper will be out as usual next week, and we have every intention of avoiding any interruption.”

Meanwhile, the newspaper’s head of news, Jack Sommers, tweeted: “A sad day for the JC.

“I am incredibly proud of its journalists, who have worked to make the paper a must-read in extraordinary times.

“In the meantime, we’re still working hard to cover the news in even more extraordinary times.”

The Jewish Chronicle was first published in 1841 and is the oldest Jewish newspaper in the world, while the Jewish News is cited as Britain’s biggest Jewish newspaper.

According to the most recent accounts published on Companies House, the Jewish Chronicle had been operating at a loss of £1.57 million in 2018, following a loss of nearly £1.19 million the year before.

In June last year, the Jewish Chronicle was saved from the brink of collapse after it received funding from its parent charitable entity, the Kessler Foundation.

In February, the 179-year-old publication announced plans to merge with Jewish News “to secure the financial future of both newspapers”.

In a joint statement, it said completion of the merger was “dependent on necessary funds being raised to support the move”.

Messages of support have appeared online in reaction to Wednesday’s announcement.

Jo Stevens, the Labour Party’s shadow culture sectary, said: “This is very sad news for the staff and Jewish community, particularly at the start of the festival of Passover.

“Collapsing print sales and advertising revenue are hitting regional, local and independent news outlets already under financial pressure, extremely hard.

“The Government’s Public Information Service could provide much-needed help to the sector through advertising public health information on Covid-19, providing a vital income as well as transmitting information as widely as possible.”