As expected, The New York Times is wielding the ax once again, with another round of cuts this week targeting the newspaper’s copy editors.
The buyouts and potential layoffs, affecting around half the total number, are part of a broad reorganization that will do away with the central copy editing desk altogether.
Altogether the NYT is aiming to trim as many as 60 copy-editing positions, according to the New York Post. employees have until July 20 to opt for a buyout. The newspaper is also phasing out the titles of copy editor and backfield editor, transferring these functions to various desks, an “Express” team and the newspaper’s Print Hub, according to an internal memo from executive editor Dean Baquet and managing editor Joe Kahn.
As part of the reorganization, the NYT is hiring around 65 new editors to oversee video and copy; copy editors whose jobs were cut can apply for these new positions in the reorganized newsroom, and over 100 have already done so, per the memo.
However, there is no guarantee they will be rehired. Those who don’t land a new position can still opt to take the buyout offer.
Earlier this month, NYT editors and journalists staged a walkout in response to management’s plans for the latest round of layoffs. The demonstration in front of the NYT's headquarters, organized by the newspaper union’s local branch, the NewsGuild of New York, included scores of editorial staff.
Protesting staffers explained their motives in a statement circulated by the union: “After a year and a half of uncertainty about their futures, New York Times editors and staff have expressed feelings of betrayal by management. The staff has been offered buyouts, and if a certain number of buyouts is not reached, layoffs will ensue for the editorial staff and potentially reporters as well.”
At the time, Baquet responded in a public statement: “The Times has far more editors relative to reporters or to the number of stories we publish than any of our traditional print peers or our newer digital rivals. After this restructuring, we will continue to invest far more in editing than any of our competitors do… This is a difficult process for us all.”