Italian network layoff 25 staffers

La7 issues pinkslips over weak ad revenues

MILAN — Telecom Italia’s La7 is letting go 25 journalists — a quarter of its editorial staff — the troubled network announced Wednesday.

The economic downturn and weakening ad revenues were blamed.

Giovanni Stella, a senior exec from Telecom Italia, said the cuts would affect sports coverage as well as other editorial units. Net’s New York correspondent post also will be cut after the U.S. elections in November.

In the face of economic problems and depressed ad sales, Stella said La7 “had no choice but to restructure, cutting losses and developing the multimedia side.”

The news prompted an immediate threat of strike action from remaining journalists, according to La Repubblica newspaper. In reply, Stella warned that excessive industrial action, particularly if it hit the channel’s digital terrestrial service, would only lead to further job reductions.

The National Press Federation union said La7 was a victim of the Rai-Mediaset duopoly in Italian TV, which “impeded true pluralism.” Although called “the third TV network” in Italy, La7 draws less than 3% of the primetime audience.