New York Times Offers Buyouts to Metro Section: ‘These Are Not Cuts’

“My overall judgement is that Metro has lost its footing and needs urgent and fundamental change,” section editor Clifford Levy says in a memo to staff

Last Updated: October 10, 2018 @ 6:52 AM

The New York Times will offer buyouts to reporters on their Metro Section, section editor Clifford Levy announced in a tweet Tuesday.

“Two months ago, I became @nytmetro editor, and it’s been thrilling. I see big opportunities. But I’m also examining what staff we need to have much more impact,” he said.

“So today, I announced voluntary buyouts. These are not cuts. @NYTMetro is not shrinking. But it will change.”

In an additional note to his team, Levy said that the buyouts were intended to put the section on stronger digital footing as the broader print paper continues to face industry headwinds.

“My overall judgement is that Metro has lost its footing and needs urgent and fundamental change,” said Levy. “Our department remains grounded in a print approach and a print sensibility, often seemingly clinging to the idea that longstanding practices should be enough to get by in the digital era.”

“I’m very exited about working with you to usher in a new digital and audience-focused Metro. But I realize that this approach might not be for everyone.” he added.

Executive editor Dean Baquet also reiterated in a broader email to staff that the buyouts would be “voluntary” and “limited” to the Metro desk. Both Baquet and Levy also said the goal was not to reduce the overall size of the Metro team.

The Times declined to comment when contacted by TheWrap.

Though President Trump has taken to calling the New York Times a “failing” paper, his term in office has coincided with a period of rapid growth for the Gray Lady. As many competitors have struggled to break even amid declining print sales, the Times has thrived, building a robust paid subscription service directly with their readers. In their most recent quarter, the paper reported a $24 million profit.