Observer fate will be known by autumn as losses mount

The fate of The Observer, the world&rsquo;s oldest Sunday newspaper, could be revealed within months, as parent company Guardian Media Group (GMG) mulls ways to control its losses.<br /><br />GMG chief executive Carolyn McCall has confirmed in an internal email that the closure of the 218-year old weekly is an option that a panel of senior executives are considering as part of a &ldquo;thorough review&rdquo; of all Guardian News &amp; Media&rsquo;s (GNM) operations to secure its future.<br /><br />McCall said that GNM editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger and the managing director, Tim Brooks, &ldquo;have both flagged that they will talk to staff about this in the autumn, when the initial work will be complete&rdquo;.<br /><br />The note to staff was sent in response to reports that GMG had revisited plans, first touted in 2004, to close the Sunday paper and replace it with a mid-week news magazine.<br /><br />&ldquo;We should not be surprised when commercial rivals seek to damage us, fail to give the full picture or speculate about our future,&rdquo; continued McCall, in a dig at the national newspapers which reported the story.<br /><br />Last month, GMG posted a full-year pre-tax loss of &pound;90m, of which national newspaper group GNM contributed &pound;36.8m. Analysts believe The Observer could be losing as much as &pound;10m a year.