Jill Abramson to staff: 'We had to layoff far fewer people than we anticipated'

The New York Times | Poynter

New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson tells staffers the paper's most recent round of buyouts limited layoffs: "In the end, we had to layoff far fewer people than we anticipated, having achieved most of our savings through the voluntary process," she writes.

Christine Haughney relays the changes to the paper's masthead. Jason Stallman will replace Joe Sexton as sports editor.

Larry Ingrassia, the former business editor, will become an assistant managing editor for new initiatives, which includes the expansion of The Times’s international coverage. Janet Elder will become an assistant managing editor with responsibility for overseeing newsroom resources, including the budget, as well as dealing with compensation and staff development. Ian Fisher will become an assistant managing editor for content operations, with responsibility for overseeing the continued integration of the digital and print sides of The Times.

The full memo from Abramson:


I wanted to let you know quickly that we are through the process of offering voluntary buyouts and cutting staff. In the end, we had to layoff far fewer people than we anticipated, having achieved most of our savings through the voluntary process.

We will continue to reposition ourselves, to meet the challenges of remaking ourselves for the digital age. The changes underway are part of the journey that we’ve been on for years: integrating our print and digital operations, expanding our reporting, deepening our ways of telling stories, innovating in ways that make our journalism the literal envy of our profession and the joy of our readers.

This means that some colleagues are changing roles. Rick Berke will now focus on video as it becomes an even bigger part of our news report. Glenn Kramon will steer our technology coverage when it is at the heart of how the world turns. These are urgent assignments requiring leaders who know the full panoply of what the newsroom is capable of doing.

We will be naming a new culture editor in the next two weeks. Jason Stallman will be our new sports editor.

Our operational needs will continue to be handled by those on the masthead, which will now include some new names. Larry Ingrassia will be the assistant managing editor for new initiatives. In this role he will spearhead our many new ventures and revenue projects. There are several already in the works, including our expansion of international coverage.

Janet Elder will be assistant managing editor for newsroom administration. She will oversee newsroom resources, including managing our budget and dealing with compensation, staffing, career development and training.

Ian Fisher will be assistant managing editor for content operations. He will manage the deepening integration of our digital and print news reports, working closely with interactive news, engagement, mobile and technology.

In the coming days and weeks we will have time to pause and express our affection and boundless gratitude for our departing colleagues. Some of the longest-serving leaders in the newsroom are leaving, people who have given The Times so much of themselves and are responsible for so much of our excellence. Among them is John Geddes’ whose smarts, ability to seamlessly get us through all manner of crises from hurricanes to blackouts and of course his ability to make us laugh at ourselves will be sorely missed. Jon Landman is leaving too. He epitomizes the integrity and ingenuity of this place. Bill Schmidt, whose charm and grace symbolize the fundamental humanity of our newsroom is planning to leave as well.

The very tread of Jim Roberts’ cowboy boots means: “We have this covered.” He will be moving on as will Joe Sexton, fresh off the glory of the Avalanche project.

But just as these inspiring leaders stood on the shoulders of those who came before, we are shored up by the accomplishments of our departing colleagues and challenged to reach even higher. As we start a new chapter, we are more resolved in our purpose and more committed to our standards.

Let us settle into this new world order. Then fire away with questions and criticisms.

Thanks to all of you for your patience.



Previously: The New York Times offers buyouts for the fourth time in five years | Abramson: Layoffs may follow if buyouts don’t ‘reach the savings we need’ | New York Times’ Pilhofer: ‘There’s a lot of institutional memory walking out the door’

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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