While most newspapers have tried to protect their newsrooms from sweeping personnel cuts, once the business side is trimmed, the axe inevitably begins to fall among editorial staff.
In a memo to employees on Monday, New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson said she was hoping to find 30 newsroom managers (who don’t belong to a union) to accept
buyout offers -- and warned that the company would resort to layoffs if it can’t find recruits.
In the memo, Abramson bluntly noted: “There is no getting around the hard news that the size of the newsroom staff must be reduced.” If all 30 buyout offers find takers, it will reduce the newsroom staff from around 1,150 people to 1,120, or 2.6%.
NYT’s newsroom staff is currently about the same size it was in 2003, according to a report in the newspaper, while the business side has reduced its workforce by over 60%.
The New York Times Company had 7,273 employees at the end of 2011, down 40% from 12,050 at the end of 2001. That decrease is roughly in line with shrinkage at other big newspaper publishers over the same period. At the end of 2011, Gannett Co. had 31,000 employees, down 40% from 51,500 total employees at the end of 2001. Over the same period, the number of employees at its U.S. publishing division shrank 47% from 39,400 to 20,900. McClatchy Co.’s total workforce has declined 53.5% from 16,791 in 2006, following its acquisition of Knight Ridder, to 7,800 at the end of 2011.
More recently, NYTCO has shed employees at divested newspaper properties. Earlier this year, NYTCO sold its Regional Media Group, consisting of 16 local newspapers in Southern states and California, to Halifax Media Holdings. Over the last two years, the company also sold its interest in Boston’s Fenway Sports Group, the parent company of the Boston Red Sox, which owns Fenway Park, as well as a large share in the New England Sports Network cable TV channel.