The Washington Post laid off 20 staffers Tuesday, one week after owner Jeff Bezos stopped in for an impromptu office visit.
In addition to the 20 eliminated current positions, The Post has identified 30 open positions they will not fill, The Post’s executive editor Sally Buzbee said in an email to staffers shared with TheWrap.
“All employees impacted by these changes are eligible to apply for posted positions, and the Newsroom’s recruiting team will reach out to each one to discuss this process and help identify available roles,” Buzbee said, adding that the Post is offering a separation incentive program to these employees that includes severance and continued health insurance coverage.
The legacy publication has been bracing itself for layoffs since December, when The Post announced it eliminate a single-digit percentage of its workforce.
“While the number of people affected is reportedly far smaller than what Publisher Fred Ryan initially alluded to in his layoff announcement at last month’s town hall, we believe any job eliminations right now are unacceptable,” the Guild wrote in a statement shared with TheWrap. “The number should be zero.”
The news comes less than a week after Bezos made a surprise visit to the Post newsroom for an editorial meeting with senior newsroom staffers, including Buzbee, according to Axios, who reported that Bezos did not comment on the status of impending layoffs.
“Newsroom leaders made these decisions after a thoughtful and deliberate review of our current roles and vacant positions,” Buzbee’s note continues. “We prioritized the elimination of vacancies to minimize the impact on employees.”
Buzbee also informed staff that The Post is not planning any further eliminations at this time.
The Guild also drew attention to the lack of a “clear explanation for why the layoffs are happening despite numerous attempts to get answers” since the December town hall. “As far as we can tell, these layoffs are not financially necessary or rooted in any coherent business plan from Fred Ryan, who said at the same town hall that he expects the company to be larger a year from now,” The Guild said.
Media companies have wasted no time in resuming the growing media layoff bloodbath as NBC News and MSNBC laid off about 75 employees scattered across the networks two weeks on the heels of layoffs from the end of 2022, when the Post let go of 10 staffers from its print Sunday magazine and CNN and Gannett laid off hundreds of employees across their news operations in December.
“The Post Guild has assembled a dedicated team of union leaders and stewards to help our colleagues navigate this difficult process today and through the coming weeks, including helping them find other jobs within the newsroom and securing the severance packages they deserve,” the Guild’s statement said. “We’ll continue to hold the company accountable and fight these seemingly arbitrary terminations in every way we can.”