100 newsroom jobs to go at NYT

EIGHT percent of the newsroom are about to get their marching orders at The New York Times.

Even though the company’s financial performance has improved slightly since registering a $US74 million loss for the first 12 weeks of the year, the recovery is not coming fast enough. Advertising, in particular, has failed to bounce back adequately.

US media reports suggest staff have been shocked by the news. Executive editor Bill Keller has requested voluntary redundancies but warned if an insufficient number stepped forward, the company would make positions redundant.

AFP reported the Times said it would mail buyout packages to the entire newsroom – both union and non-union employees – tomorrow. Employees would have 45 days to decide whether to apply for a buyout – an American euphamism for a redundancy.

Speculation is focusing on The New York Times Co.’s 3rd quarter result, which is due out overnight. Profits so far this year show a fall of 42 percent – similar to other major publishers but a steep fall compared with most bluechip American businesses, even in this global recession.

Media reports also suggest positions are likely to go in Business and the iconic Op-Ed areas.

“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,” said Mr Keller in a staff memo.

At the beginning of last year, NYT has 1332 editorial positions – the largest by far of all other newspapes in America, and dwarfing newsrooms of major newspapers in Europe and (of course) in this part of the world.

Since then, numbers have been trimmed back to 1250, and the staff across the entire company have accepted a 5 percent pay cut to help get the company through its difficult trading circumstances.

Last week, the company chose to take off the market the Boston newspaper, The Globe, which it had threatened to sell.

The Globe is budgeted to make a loss of $US50 million this year even after making cuts to operating expenses of approximately $US20 million.

The New York Times had two potential buyers. However, the top bid was said to be in the region of $US40 million – even though the Times paid $US1.1 billion for the Globe in 1993.

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