THE TIME HAS PASSED: The bloodletting is over at The New York Times for the year.
This story first appeared in the December 22, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The paper, which earlier this week indicated that it would begin layoffs after it offered buyouts to senior management and Newspaper Guild members, told staffers Friday that it had finally met its quota.
The news came via an e-mail from executive editor Dean Baquet, who wrote: “Colleagues, This has been a really tough period for the newsroom, and I just wanted to let you know that the process of staff reductions has ended. We are saying good-bye to cherished colleagues and friends. The round of toasts and send-offs has been bittersweet, reminding us how important each person is to The Times. Through it all, we’ve done ourselves proud by continuing to put out a powerful news report. Dean.”
In October, The Times laid out its plan to begin transitioning its operations to become more digitally lucrative in the face of declining print-advertising sales. This would translate into cutting 100 newsroom jobs before the end of the year.
“We are reducing the cost base of the company to safeguard the long-term profitability of The Times, not because of any short-term business difficulties,” the company said via a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The company said the cuts would allow it to “invest heavily” in mobile, audience development and its digital-product portfolio, advertising and targeted areas of print.
It also would allow it to change the face of the newsroom to be younger, which, on the downside, also would come at the expense of experience.
The paper offered buyouts to several veteran journalists, including media reporters Stuart Elliott, Bill Carter and Christine Haughney, as well as chief financial correspondent Floyd Norris, David Firestone of the editorial board and several culture-desk editors and writers, including Ron Wertheimer, Christopher Phillips and Ray Cormier.
The Times fell short of its 100-person quota for buyouts, and, according to reports, it let go of about 20 additional journalists, beginning this Tuesday.
Sources said that no one from the Styles section had been laid off, but that the media desk took another hit when it let go of Leslie Kaufman, a digital-media reporter, earlier this week.
As the hammer fell, insiders told WWD that most people who were laid off were “shocked,” but now that the layoffs are over, there is a sense of relief — at least for those who remain.