New York Times Hit By New Round of Buyouts, But Promises No ‘Damage’ to Journalism

“Wherever we can reduce costs without damaging the values, and value, of Times journalism, we will do so,” internal memo says

The New York Times will offer voluntary buyout packages to members of the newsroom and several other departments, the company announced on Wednesday.

This comes less than a month after the Times denied reports that chairman and publisher Arthur “Pinch” Sulzberger Jr.’s team was planning a massive cut in staff by year’s end.

A memo sent to staffers was signed by Sulzberger Jr. and executive editor Dean Baquet, stating “the buyouts were a part of the company’s larger mandate to build a more digitally focused newsroom, and to reach its stated goal of doubling digital revenue by the year 2020.”

The memo continues: “These plans will no doubt lead to new initiatives and investments. At the same time, we will also need to make tough decisions about what to stop doing. Wherever we can reduce costs without damaging the values, and value, of Times journalism, we will do so.”

Like many newspaper publishers, the Times has been hit hard by declining print circulation and ad revenue as well as increased costs in moving to digital operations. Back in February, Baquet sent a lengthy memo to his staff that addressed the way the Times’ newsroom “is experimenting and adapting as we move into our digital future.”

The announcement does not specify the number of buyouts that will be offered, or if layoffs would follow. Packages will be distributed electronically to all eligible employees on May 31.

The buyouts reportedly will be offered to both News Guild and excluded employees.

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