A story stated the paper will resort to layoffs if it cannot get enough people to leave voluntarily.
"The program mirrors one carried out in the spring of 2008, when the paper erased 100 positions in its newsroom, though other jobs were created, so the net reduction was smaller," the story says. "That round of cuts included some layoffs of journalists - about 15 to 20, though The Times would not disclose the actual figure - which was the first time in memory that had happened."
The story notes that the paper's news department "peaked at more than 1,330 employees before the last round of cuts." The current number is about 1,250.
The paper plans to send buyout packages to the entire newsroom staff on Thursday. Employees then have 45 days to decide whether to seek a buyout. Under the Newspaper Guild contract, the buyout offers two weeks' salary for each year of service, the story said.
In a note to the news staff (posted below), Executive Editor Bill Keller wrote: "As before, if we do not reach 100 positions through buyouts, we will be forced to go to layoffs. I hope that won't happen, but it might," the story said.
"I won't pretend that these staff cuts will not add to the burdens of journalists whose responsibilities have grown faster than their compensation," he added. "Like you, I yearn for the day when we can do our jobs without looking over our shoulders for economic thunderstorms."
The Times told the Newspaper Guild late last month that it was open to offering voluntary buyouts in a move to avert additional layoffs.
The newspaper also had said it would restore pay levels for union members in January 2010, after salaries were cut by 5% earlier this year.
Keller's e-mail is below:
I had planned to invite you to the newsroom and break this news in person Monday, but I've been hit by something that seems to be the flu. Though I strongly believe in delivering bad news in person, I don't want to add insult to injury by spreading infection.
Let me cut to the chase: We have been told to cut 100 newsroom positions between now and the end of the year.
We hope to accomplish this by offering voluntary buyouts. On Thursday the company will be sending buyout offers to everyone in the newsroom. Getting a buyout package does NOT mean we want you to leave. It is simply easier to send the envelopes to everyone. If you think a buyout may be right for you, you have 45 days to respond, and then we have ten days to accept or decline.
As before, if we do not reach 100 positions through buyouts, we will be forced to go to layoffs. I hope that won't happen, but it might.
Our colleagues in editorial and op-ed, and on the business side, also face another round of budget cuts.
In recent years, we've managed to avoid the disabling cutbacks that have hit other newsrooms. The company has chosen to protect the journalism by cutting production and other business-side costs, and the newsroom itself has managed its resources frugally. These latest cuts will still leave us with the largest, strongest and most ambitious editorial staff of any newsroom in the country, if not the world.
I won't pretend that these staff cuts will not in some ways diminish our journalism, or that they will not add to the burdens of journalists whose responsibilities have grown faster than their compensation. But we've been looking hard at ways to minimize the impact -- in part, by re-engineering some of our copy flow. I won't promise this will be easy or painless, but I believe we can weather these cuts without seriously compromising our commitment to coverage of the region, the country and the world. We will remain the single best news organization on earth.
I doubt that anyone is shocked by the fact of this, but it is happening sooner than anyone anticipated. When we took our 5 percent pay cuts, it was in the hope that this would fend off the need for more staff cuts this year. But I accept that if it's going to happen, it should be done quickly. We will get through this and move on.
In my absence, Bill Schmidt and John and Jill have volunteered to take your questions this afternoon. Feel free to bring additional questions to me as soon as I'm back, or check with Bill Schmidt or John or Jill privately, or save them for the next Throw Stuff at Bill session, which is in a couple of weeks.
We often -- and rightly -- voice our gratitude that we work for a company and a family that prize quality journalism above all. I hope you know that the company and the family, and I, feel an equal debt of gratitude to all of you whose sacrifice and loyalty have kept us strong.
Like you, I yearn for the day when we can do our jobs without looking over our shoulders for economic thunderstorms.
By: Joe Strupp The New York Times announced a new buyout offer today, the paper reported on its Web site, adding that the goal is to cut 100 newsroom jobs, about eight percent of the newsroom staff.