The New York Times May Lay Off Reporters
America’s leading daily newspaper agency, The New York Times, could be laying off additional staff as it continues its restructuring efforts. This time around, the agency’s reporters may have their jobs on the line.
Executive Editor Dean Baquet sent out a warning to the top editors that, if the voluntary buyouts being offered to the staff do not find enough takers, the agency may have to resort to cutting some jobs. The buyouts were primarily offered to copy editors, although the agency has also kept them open to reporters.
Earlier this year, The New York Times, nicknamed the “Gray Lady,” announced a restructuring plan to cope with the fast-paced digital media industry. Management is making an effort to streamline its news reporting business in an evolving landscape that’s trending away from print media and toward digital media.
As part of its restructuring plan, the company announced in May that it would be cutting its newsroom staff to reduce the layers involved in the news editing process. The company also said that it was eliminating the “public editor” job role.
Simultaneously, the agency sent out voluntary buyout offers to the editing staff. Most of the employees facing layoffs were copy editors. Since then, nearly 109 copy editors have lost their jobs.
However, if the company is not able to achieve its target through voluntary buyouts, more employees may be handed pink slips. This group of employees may now also include reporters. The voluntary buyout offer closes on July 20.
The union of The New York Times employees, NewsGuild, has criticized the company’s move to cut jobs. Following the news that the agency may lay off reporters, the President of the union, Grant Glickson, came forward, saying, “The Times ‘restructuring’ of the newsroom is really about the bottom line and not about making the editing process more efficient, as they claim.”
The New York Times initiated the restructuring efforts to shift its focus toward digital news reporting after facing an industry-wide decline in print advertising revenue. The New York Times reports that its print advertising fell 18% in its most recent quarter, which resulted in an overall reduction in its advertising revenue by seven percent.
“New York Times bloodbath could include reporter jobs,” New York Post, June 23, 2017.
“New York Times Will Offer Employee Buyouts and Eliminate Public Editor Role,” The New York Times, May 31, 2017.