As Buyouts Fall Short, ‘N.Y. Times’ Warns Of Newsroom Layoffs

By: E&P Staff

Because not enough journalists took up its buyout offer, The New York Times is warning it likely will lay off a “limited number” of newsroom employees.

In a memo to employees, Assistant Managing Editor Bill Schmidt said the voluntary buyouts announced six weeks ago have not attracted enough takers to reduce head count by the target of 100 jobs.

The buyout offer officially closes next Monday for non-union employees and next Tuesday for staffers represented by The Newspaper Guild, Schmidt noted in the memo, which was first disclosed by The New York Observer on its Web site.

“While we will not know the hard count until that time, every effort to handicap the outcome suggests that we are almost certain to fall short of the number of volunteers we will need,” Schmidt wrote. “If that is indeed the case, as we expect it will be, we will — regrettably — be forced resort to some limited number of layoffs within the core newsroom.”

This would be the first involuntary layoffs at the Times, Schmidt said, “and we approach it with a heavy heart.”

Schmidt said he was unable to give “some clearer sense of scale” of the number of people who will be let go if the buyout program falls short of 100 jobs.

“Because the voluntary buyout window is still open for a few more days, and because we know many of you might still be contemplating what to do, we urge you to give the offer serious consideration, if you believe there is some financial advantage in it for you and your family,” he wrote. “Each buyout we record before next Tuesday reduces the number of layoffs we will have to seek.”

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