Newspaper execs are swinging the axe again, with layoffs and buyouts at several big publishers already this year. The Washington Post Co. revealed plans to lay off dozens of staff on the business side of the company, with various reports putting the total number of employees to be cut at somewhere between 40 and 54.
The layoffs were first reported by FishbowlDC.
According to a memo from chief information officer and vice president for digital product development Shaliesh Prakash that was circulated to employees: “As part of a broader restructuring across the commercial side, we identified several areas where we believe we can operate differently. As a result, and after careful consideration, we are planning to eliminate some positions, effective April 30, 2013.”
Prakash added that employees whose positions are being cut can opt to take part in a “Separation Incentive Program” that includes separation payments and a company contribution toward
health insurance premiums.
Sources at WaPo cited by FishbowlDC said the cuts included its entire mobile product management and IT product management staffs. Over the last decade, the newspaper’s total workforce has declined from around 2,470 full-time employees at the end of 2003 to 1,911 at the end of 2011, the most recent year for which figures are currently available.
Like other newspaper publishers, WaPo has been struggling with declining print advertising revenues and print circulation, as well as declining revenue at its Kaplan educational division. In the first nine months of 2012, total revenues at the company fell 4% to $2.97 billion.
As noted, WaPo isn’t the only newspaper slimming its workforce. In January, The Star Ledger of Newark, New Jersey’s largest daily newspaper, laid off 34 employees. Star Ledger owner Advance Publications also laid off 12 employees at The Express-Times of Easton, PA, 11 employees at the South Jersey Times, and three employees from its weekly newspapers in western New Jersey.