The New York Times will eliminate up to 20 newsroom positions, the paper’s Brian Stelter reports.
New executive editor Jill Abramson said there will be no layoffs on the editorial staff.
In a memo to staffers, she wrote:
We are announcing today a limited buyout opportunity to newsroom volunteers, both excluded staffers as well as those members of the Guild-Times bargaining unit covered by the existing print contract.
The buyouts are the first significant newsroom reductions since 2009.
There will also be open positions eliminated from the business side and executives will offer a limited number of buyouts.
Third quarter earnings are expected to be poor as the entire media industry struggles through another downturn.
The Times’ paywall has been working to a certain extent, but the print advertising is struggling.
The buyouts are the latest sign that the paper of record is not yet out of the woods.
Hear more? Let us know ([email protected]; 646.376.6016).
The full memo is below
To the Staff:
We are announcing today a limited buyout opportunity to newsroom
volunteers, both excluded staffers as well as those members of the
Guild-Times bargaining unit covered by the existing print contract.
By limited, that means we are looking at fewer than 20 buyouts across
the newsroom, among volunteers who see the offer as being to their
financial advantage at this time. The offering to the newsroom is, in
any event, wholly voluntary. No matter how many people do or do not
raise their hands, no one in the newsroom – either Guild or excluded –
will be laid off as a result of this program.
For excluded staff members, the buyout formula effectively works out
to two weeks of pay per year of service, with a maximum of one year in
salary. The existing formula for Guild members in general provides
for three weeks of severance per year, capping at a maximum of two
years worth of salary.
The Guild buyout formula is among the issues on the table in the
current contractual negotiations between the company and the Guild,
and the company has proposed that in the future, the Guild terms
mirror those now available to excluded employees. But until the
company and the union agree on a new contract and the membership
ratifies it – hopefully in the coming months – the current buyout
terms remain in effect.
While we remain as loyal as ever to Times journalism and journalists,
the uncertain economy has posed a continuing and difficult challenge
to The Times: how to rebalance our business for the digital age while
remaining steadfast to the quality journalism that defines us?
As you all know, the company has consistently chosen to protect the
journalism, even while cutting production and other business-side
costs and continuing to demand exacting financial discipline in the
way the newsroom itself marshals its resources and controls its
spending. Even now, we field a newsroom staff about the same size as
it was a decade ago, and continue to invest in new opportunities and
new platforms for our content.
In conjunction with this offering in the newsroom, the business side
is making a small adjustment in its own budget, mostly by eliminating
some open slots. This is consistent with ongoing efforts among our
colleagues in the business side departments, who have cut their own
staff in half over the past decade.
As in previous buyouts, to ensure we do not cut too deeply in our
journalistic muscle, we do reserve the right to turn down some
volunteers who are in those areas of the newsroom where we feel we
cannot reduce our numbers. It is for that reason, in part, that we
have excluded those members of the Guild who are covered by the
separate Digital contract.
Anyone who is eligible for this offering and interested in
volunteering should contact Bill Schmidt’s office by Monday, Oct. 24,
and we will get you a copy of the package. You will have 45 days from
then to decide whether or not you want to formally apply for a buyout.
Jill, Dean and John
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