The Washington Post plans to lay off 240 employees after “overly optimistic” traffic and ad projections from top leaders.
On Tuesday, New York Times media reporter Ben Mullin posted an internal memo that was delivered to employees at The Post. The message detailed the company’s decision and its offering of a voluntary separation package. The staff cuts amount to a nearly 10% slice of The Post’s workforce, which previously employed about 2,5000 people.
“Dear Colleagues, I am so sorry to share some difficult news,” the statement from The Post’s interim CEO Patty Stonesifer said.
“Over the last eight weeks, I have been working with the senior leadership team to review the current state of our business and financial results. We have determined that our prior projections for traffic, subscriptions, and advertising growth for the past two years — and into 2024 — have been overly optimistic and we are working to find ways to return out business to a healthier place in the coming year. We have work going on across the organization to develop a strong plan for 2024 — and make no mistake — we remain bullish about the future of The Washington Post.”
The memo continued: “As a result we have decided to offer a voluntary separation package over the next few weeks designed to reduce our workforce by approximately 240 people across all functions of The Post. This program will offer generous incentives to employees in specific roles where w believe we can reduce costs if work can be assigned more efficiently.”
The newspaper plans to hold a virtual and in-person meeting on Wednesday at 10 a.m. to discuss the employee separation deals, which leaders say are being provided as an option to workers in an effort to avert “more difficult actions such as layoffs — a situation we are united in trying to avoid.”
The internal development to clear out some of its staff comes after the Jeff Bezos-owned newspaper was reportedly set to lose $100 million, and nine months after The Post stripped the company of 50 staff positions and laid off 20 people.
“Following this meeting, all eligible employees will be notified by email if their position is included in the program, and they are welcome to consider the package. Senior leaders will then share department specific information in meetings to follow throughout the day,” the memo concluded. “I know you will have many questions about this, and will strive to answer these tomorrow as best we can and will work together to make this transition as smooth as possible.”