As expected, there were layoffs at Newsweek this afternoon.
We hear staffers were notified about the status of their jobs via email at 1 p.m.
A tipster tells us:
Everybody is just kind of walking around asking each other if they’re OK, giving nods. Was pretty quiet for an hour. Lots of people are just huddled or sitting in groups talking. A couple of long-timers got let go, one with over 20 years, another with over 30 years (so the gossip has it). A couple of part-timers too. But no big scenes.
We don’t have any names yet, but we’ll update as we learn more. We have a call and email out to Newsweek for comment.
UPDATE – A Newsweek spokesperson just sent us the following statement:
A small percentage of Newsweek’s staff was told today that they will not be offered jobs when Sidney Harman assumes control on October 1, 2010. The majority of Newsweek’s employees were asked to remain in their jobs. The Washington Post Company will provide generous severance packages to those who are not being retained.
Newsweek employees have been bracing for the staff cuts since early August, when it was announced that former stereo equipment mogul Sidney Harman would be the magazine’s new owner. (The sale is just about finalised.)
Harman had said from the outset that he planned to keep a “majority” of the staff on board. One estimate suggested he would trim the staff from a little more than 300 to about 250.
Meanwhile, there has been a significant amount of voluntary attrition, including high-profile staffers such as Dan Gross, Fareed Zakaria, Mark Hosenball, Howard Fineman and outgoing editor-in-chief Jon Meacham. Those were all big salaries, and presumably they freed up a big portion of the budget, which could be good news for much of the rank-and-file.
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