TIME TO CUT: The other shoe is dropping at The New York Times. According to sources, staffers at the Times were sent an e-mail on Tuesday from the Newspaper Guild of New York indicating that layoffs would take place Tuesday and Wednesday.
This story first appeared in the December 17, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The paper said in October that it would eliminate 100 newsroom jobs in order to shore up its budget so it could invest in its digital future.
In the e-mail, which was sent Tuesday, The Guild said the Times accepted buyout applications from 57 members, and it estimated that the paper accepted buyouts from 30 non-Guild members. That number is an educated “guess,” the Guild told WWD. The paper also indicated that it would let go of another 21 union members, which will likely translate to more than 100 job cuts.
In prior weeks, several well-known reporters opted to take buyouts. On the media desk, which is being folded into Business Day, reporters Bill Carter, Stuart Elliott and Christine Haughney all opted to take the package. On Tuesday, Leslie Kaufman, a digital media reporter on the desk, was let go, leaving just a handful of media reporters, as well as columnist David Carr. Last week, executive editor Dean Baquet told WWD that he was going to “make sure it [the media desk] is as strong as ever,” but he did not provide details on what the restructuring would look like.
Although the Styles section has thus far been spared, staffers are still on edge, as is most of the newsroom.
One source described the mood as “tense” but that it was “much worse” a few weeks earlier. Closed-door meetings and whisper sessions between employees have come to be the norm in the office.
Another insider said that it doesn’t seem like people know what’s going on — even senior managers. Based on that lack of clarity, the source said that although the cuts are said to wrap on Wednesday, there’s still the possibility that they go later into the week.
The Times experienced a similar number of job cuts before in 2008 and then in 2009, as well as 30 senior jobs at the beginning of last year, not to mention the dismissal of executive editor Jill Abramson earlier this year.