The Wall Street Journal is offering a hefty number of buyouts to employees, as it continues to reposition itself for the digital age.
According to a memo sent by Wall Street Journal editor in chief Gerard Baker, the paper is seeking a “substantial number of employees” to take a buyout in its news division. The News Corp.-owned newspaper endured staff reductions last year, in order to continue its digital evolution. At the beginning of this year, Baker also laid out a reorganization of its newsroom, which included revamping its Page One structure. Those efforts, and the recent announcement of buyouts, are part of a strategy to streamline the business and reduce costs as it repositions itself to meet the demands of digital media. Such changes are common in traditional media and span companies from The New York Times and Time Inc. to Condé Nast and Hearst.
“We are seeking a substantial number of employees to elect this benefit, but we reserve the right to reject a volunteer based on business considerations,” Baker said Friday. “Employees will be required to sign a separation agreement and release of claims in a form provided by the company in exchange for the accompanying severance benefits.”
The last day to volunteer for a buyout is Oct. 31.
Baker noted that news employees around the world, management and nonmanagement, would have the option to elect to take an “enhanced voluntary severance benefit.” U.S.-based staffers are eligible to receive 1.5 times their severance, which is based on the number of years of service, up to 18 months of salary, the memo said.
“I regret of course the need for such a move and I appreciate deeply the dedication all of you continue to show through challenging times. Thanks to your hard work, the news department continues to produce world-class journalism every day and I’m confident this process is the right one to set us on the right footing for renewed growth in the years ahead,” Baker said in his sign off.
News Corp. will report fiscal 2017 first-quarter earnings on Nov. 7.