The New York Times offers buyouts for the fourth time in five years

The New York Times | New York Observer | Poynter
The New York Times announced Monday that it would be offering buyout packages to 30 newsroom managers, reports Christine Haughney. Editor Jill Abramson told staff that layoffs could follow.

While the primary goal of the buyout program is to trim highly paid managers from its books, the company is offering some reporters and editors in the newsroom the chance to volunteer for buyout packages as well. …

“There is no getting around the hard news that the size of the newsroom staff must be reduced,” Ms. Abramson said in the letter.

The Times previously offered buyouts in October 2011, October 2009, and February 2008.

In her note to staff, Abramson said the Times newsroom employs about 1,150 people — comparable to its size in 2003.

The goal is to reduce the staff by 30 non-union positions, though buyouts will be made available to union employees as well. “The offer to union members would potentially take the number beyond 30,” says Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy by email, “but there is no target and we will evaluate on a case by case basis.”

The Times reached a new agreement with Guild members last month after a contentious negotiation.

Staff have until Jan. 24 to accept the buyout offer.

“I hope the needed savings can be achieved through voluntary buyouts but if not, I will be forced to go to layoffs among the excluded staff,” Abramson said in her note.

In a separate note to staff, publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., said, “While our digital subscription plan has been successful, the advertising climate remains volatile and we don’t see this changing in the near future.”

The third quarter earnings report for the Times showed print revenues down 10.9 percent, and digital ad revenues down 2.2 percent.

With a new (and somewhat controversial) CEO, the Times is not presenting to investors at this week’s 40th annual UBS media conference.

We have made it easy to comment on posts, however we require civility and encourage full names to that end (first initial, last name is OK). Please read our guidelines here before commenting.