Nearly 50 New York Times journalists have accepted a buyout offer and will exit the paper in the coming months.
The Times had a standing offer and is attempting to trim the staff, which currently stands at about 1,300 employees, according to Poynter.
“These are not layoffs, they are voluntary buyouts,” a New York Times spokesperson told TheWrap. “Beyond that clarification, which is important, we’re not commenting.”
The deadline to apply for buyouts was July 15, Poynter reported. The News Guild of New York says there were 54 Guild members who applied for the buyout, just one of whom came from outside the paper’s newsroom. Two Guild members reportedly were rejected when they applied and will remain in their current jobs.
The Guild says that roughly half of the buyout applicants were reporters, domestic correspondents, columnists or critics.
In May, the Times announced voluntary buyout packages to members of the newsroom and several other departments. The news came 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 in May was signed by Sulzberger Jr. and executive editor Dean Banquet, 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.”
Like many newspaper publishers, The New York 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.”