Sidney Harman announces cuts ahead of sale closing
The layoffs soon-to-be new owner Sidney Harman told Newsweek employees were coming hit the magazine on Friday, as expected.
No word on exactly how many employees were let go, but Harman was expected to cut up to 25 percent of the struggling weekly's current masthead.
"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," Newsweek said in a statement. "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."
According to a source inside the magazine, the mood at Newsweek today is, understandably, not great.
But they knew it was coming. On September 8, Harman announced that all employees would receive a letter on September 24 indicating whether or not they’d be given an employment offer under the new ownership. According to one employee, Harman said at least 75 percent of the staff would receive an offer.
Many of them didn't stick around to find out. Since the sale was announced last month, editor-in-chief Jon Meacham, international editor Fareed Zakaria, editor-at-large Evan Smith, editorial director Mark Miller, diplomatic correspondent Lally Weymouth, senior Washington correspondent Howard Fineman, national economic correspondent and senior editor Michael Hirsch, economics editor Daniel Gross, investigative reporter Mark Hosenball, Newsweek.com general manager Geoff Reiss and executive editor Gabriel Snyder have left or announced plans to leave.
[SEE RELATED: What's Behind the Exodus at Newsweek?]
Earlier this week, a spokesperson said the company does not disclose headcount numbers. (On March 31, Newsweek’s headcount was 379; it’s closer to 300 now, and the Times reported in August that Harman would would retain about 250 employees.)
The sale of Newsweek — which Harman reportedly paid one dollar for, plus the assumption of its heavy debt and circulation liabilities — is expected to be finalized on September 30.