NYT’s woes continue

The NY Post reports some hard times ahead for the NYT:

THE New York Times’ news room is bracing for a bloodbath in the next 10 days.

The word from inside is that approximately 50 unionized journalists have accepted the buyout proposal, and only another 20 non-union editorial employees have gotten on board.

That means the ax could fall on as many as 30 editorial people in the company’s first-ever mass firing of journalists in its 156-year history.

Executive Editor William Keller had said originally that he was looking to cut 100 people from the Times staff in response to the dismal newspaper advertising environment.

But then a week ago Assistant Managing Editor William Schmidt issued a memo saying it was almost certain that the company would be forced to make involuntary cuts, and he urged more volunteers to come forward.

The plea apparently fell on deaf ears.

With just 70 people stepping forward for buyouts, it is very likely that 30 newsroom staffers will be forced out in coming days.

“We’re bracing for it,” said one insider with some knowledge of the developments. “There’s a lot of anxiety.”

With competitive threats looming from The Wall Street Journal, which like The Post is owned by News Corp., sources said the business desk and national desk will be spared and will absorb only token cuts.

The Metro desk, headed by Joe Sexton, is headed toward a major reorganization and could absorb the brunt of the involuntary axings.

But, as with all developments inside the Times, things move slow.

Tuesday was the deadline for employees choosing to accept buyout packages, which offer three weeks of severance for each year worked. Management and other non-unionized employees were to have accepted their buyout offers by Monday.

Of course, when you’re losing money because more and more people no longer view your paper as the “newspaper of record,” things like this are going to happen. But JammieWearingFool makes a good point here by asking, essentially, what about the guys in higher management like Keller and Schmidt? After all, aren’t they the ones who set the agenda and tone in the first place? I’m not cheering for anyone to be let go of their jobs, but if the NYT wants to rectify the problems they’ve been plagued with over the years, perhaps they should start first by looking at the people who call the shots.

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