‘Black Tuesday’ Continues: NYT Co. Cutting 500 Jobs

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By: E&P Staff

The New York Times Co. announced a staggering staff reduction plan Tuesday that will likely mean some 500 job loses at the company’s many properties, including an expected 45 newsroom positions at The New York Times newspaper and 35 at The Boston Globe.

In a memo to staffers, company chairman Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr. and CEO Janet Robinson wrote: “We regret that we will see many of our colleagues leave the Company; it is a painful process for all of us. We have been tested many times in our 154-year history as we are being tested now.” They promised this would not impact the quality of the paper’s journalism.

In a press release distributed Tuesday afternoon, the company said it “plans to begin the staff reductions in October and implement them over the course of the next six to nine months.”

The news followed an announcement earlier in the day from Philadelphia Newspapers Inc., owner of the Philadelphia Daily News and the Philadelphia Inquirer, would seek to cut 100 jobs through buyouts.

“This represents a continuation of the initiatives the Company began earlier this year to find ways to operate more efficiently,” a statement with the release said. “As a result of these efforts, the Company identified areas where it could function effectively with fewer people. Earlier this year the Company reduced its staff by approximately 200 positions, or about 2%.”

Times company spokeswoman Catherine Mathis said specific decisions about how the reductions would be made, through buyouts or layoffs, had not been determined. “We are in the process of formulating that,” she told E&P. “It is a combination. We don’t know at this point.”

Times Executive Editor Bill Keller could not immediately be reached, while Globe Editor Martin Baron declined a request for comment.

The cutbacks will include about 250 positions at The New York Times Media Group, including the 45 newsroom jobs at the Times newspaper. Other properties in that group include the International Herald Tribune and NYTimes.com. Specific reductions for those properties were not revealed.

At the New England Media Group, some 160 positions, including those at the Globe, will be lost. Other outlets within that division are the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and Boston.com. Another 80 job cuts will be spread across the company’s regional newspapers, broadcast outlets, and corporate staff, Mathis said, but did not offer specifics.

The memo to staffers from Sulzberger and Robinson read:

“Given the continued financial challenges and the cloudy economic outlook for the remainder of the year, we believe it is prudent and necessary to initiate this additional reduction. We will be working through the bargaining issues with our unions and will observe all contractual obligations, including severance where applicable.

“The Company plans to manage the staff reductions in such a way that we continue to provide our readers, users, listeners and viewers with journalism of the highest quality and that our operations function smoothly on a day-to-day basis. This will help ensure that we achieve our long-term strategic goals.

“We regret that we will see many of our colleagues leave the Company; it is a painful process for all of us. We have been tested many times in our 154-year history as we are being tested now. We know that our collective talent and commitment will ensure our long-term success. Over the course of the past year we have taken many steps to improve the performance of our Company, including creating new products and services, acquiring and investing in existing and new businesses, and finding ways to lower costs. These are important steps that position us well to meet the challenges we face and we will continue to invest in our businesses as we move forward.”

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