Grupo Nación, one of Costa Rica’s largest media groups, on Monday announced it had reduced its payroll by 20% and laid off 17 members of its editorial staff.
In an editorial, the company that owns the daily La Nación blamed the economic crisis provoked by the coronavirus pandemic for creating financial struggles.
“The advertising market, like much of the economy, shows no recovery,” the editorial read. “Grupo Nación’s print media were profitable before the pandemic.”
Grupo Nación says it’s “gradually” restoring staff salary after imposing pay cuts earlier this year, but that in turn it had laid off “17 editorial colleagues and other members of the areas of direct support for journalistic work.”
“The media industry has serious structural problems, and the coronavirus pandemic exacerbates and evidences them,” the editorial said, citing economic difficulties at Gannett (owners of USA Today), among other international outlets.
In Costa Rica, the pandemic also led to La Voz de Guanacaste suspending its print edition beginning in late April.
“Without advertisers, we can’t afford to pay for our office, so we had to close it,” the paper wrote at the time. “[Nor] can we afford to put out our print edition, so we had to suspend its circulation.”
Driven by the pandemic, unemployment in Costa Rica reached 15.7% from February to April 2020, marking the highest-recorded level of that economic indicator.
Unemployment has particularly affected the tourism sector, since Costa Rica has restricted entry to foreign visitors from mid-March until August 1.