New York Times Plans Cutbacks in Newsroom Staff

New York Times – by RAVI SOMAIYA

The New York Times plans to eliminate about 100 newsroom jobs, as well as a smaller number of positions from its editorial and business operations, offering buyouts and resorting to layoffs if enough people do not leave voluntarily, the newspaper announced on Wednesday.

Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the newspaper’s publisher, and Mark Thompson, its chief executive, said that in addition to the job cuts, NYT Opinion, a new mobile app dedicated to opinion content, was shutting down because it was not attracting enough subscribers.  

The reductions, they said, were intended to safeguard the newspaper’s long-term profitability.

“The job losses are necessary to control our costs and to allow us to continue to invest in the digital future of The New York Times, but we know that they will be painful both for the individuals affected and for their colleagues,” the note said.

The Times’s executive editor, Dean Baquet, sent a separate note to the newsroom staff. “I will use this as an opportunity to seriously reconsider some of what we do — from the number of sections we produce to the amount we spend on freelance content,” he said.

The Times is not alone in eliminating newsroom jobs. Newspapers across the country have slashed positions this year. The Wall Street Journal cut dozens of jobs this summer, USA Today eliminated 70 positions in September, and Freedom Communications carried out layoffs in January at two smaller local newspapers, The Orange County Register and The Press-Enterprise of Riverside.

Mr. Sulzberger and Mr. Thompson said that even with the cutbacks 100 positions comprise about 7.5 percent of the newsroom staffThe Times would continue to expand and invest heavily in initiatives that supported its growth strategy, like digital technology, audience development and mobile offerings.

But they also said they had decided to wind down NYT Opinion because it had not drawn a substantial audience. And while praising NYT Now, a new app aimed at younger readers, they said that as a lower-priced subscription offer, it had not proved as popular as they had hoped.

The latest product, NYT Cooking, is not charging for a subscription but instead is trying to build a large audience before asking readers to pay. Mr. Sulzberger and Mr. Thompson said that by the end of September, just two weeks after its official launch, the product had more than a million unique visitors.

“They are all experiments, which we are determined to treat as such: to learn, pivot and, where necessary, make prompt decisions about them,” the note said. “We believe that this process of exploration and experimentation is essential to future growth at The New York Times and we will continue to support and fund it.”

The note also said financial results from the company’s third quarter, which ended Sunday, had improved from a difficult second quarter. Digital advertising is likely to show growth of about 16 percent in the third quarter, the best quarterly performance since 2010, and digital subscriptions are expected to increase by more than 40,000, the largest number of quarterly additions since 2012.

But the company’s profitability was lower than during the same period last year as costs increased.

The Times has made cuts to its newsroom staff several times over the last six years. The paper eliminated 100 newsroom jobs in 2008, another 100 in 2009, and 30 more senior newsroom jobs at the beginning of last year.

Despite those cuts, the newsroom staff has grown to about 1,330, approaching its largest size ever, according to the company, up from about 1,250 at the end of last year. Some of that growth is a result of adding jobs for digital efforts, like web producers and video journalists.

The buyouts and layoffs are likely to create anxiety in a newsroom that has had already had an unsettling year. In May, the paper’s executive editor, Jill Abramson, was abruptly dismissed by Mr. Sulzberger after less than three years in the job. He cited issues with her management of the newsroom and replaced her with Dean Baquet, the paper’s No. 2 editor.

“There is no magic bullet for the current financial plight of the news business,” Mr. Baquet wrote in his note on Wednesday. “But the journalists of The Times, with all of their creativity and belief in the future, have helped guide this company through even more turbulent times.”


One thought on “New York Times Plans Cutbacks in Newsroom Staff

  1. The joo York Times shrinking business is certainly good news, meaning that fewer people are buying joo and Luciferian propaganda.

Join the Conversation

Your email address will not be published.