New York Times Cutting Staff Again

The nation's newspaper of record is slashing its reporting team.

breaking-news

The nation’s newspaper of record is slashing its reporting team.

NYT (“New York Times Plans Cutbacks in Newsroom Staff“):

The New York Times plans to eliminate about 100 newsroom jobs, as well as a smaller number of positions from its editorial and business operations, offering buyouts and resorting to layoffs if enough people do not leave voluntarily, the newspaper announced on Wednesday.

Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the newspaper’s publisher, and Mark Thompson, its chief executive, said that in addition to the job cuts, NYT Opinion, a new mobile app dedicated to opinion content, was shutting down because it was not attracting enough subscribers.

They’re not alone:

Newspapers across the country have slashed positions this year. The Wall Street Journal cut dozens of jobs this summer, USA Today eliminated 70 positions in September, and Freedom Communications carried out layoffs in January at two smaller local newspapers, The Orange County Register and The Press-Enterprise of Riverside.

Mr. Sulzberger and Mr. Thompson said that even with the cutbacks 100 positions comprise about 7.5 percent of the newsroom staffThe Times would continue to expand and invest heavily in initiatives that supported its growth strategy, like digital technology, audience development and mobile offerings.

Virtually every news operation in the country has been scrambling for more than a decade to figure out how to replace an old business model built around selling mass numbers of newspapers at a loss to a semi-captive audience and making a profit by selling advertising space. Now, the vast majority of readers get their news from the Internet, expect it to be free of charge, and have figured out how to bypass most of the advertising. Additionally, Craigslist and other forums have broken the newspapers’ monopoly on classified advertising.

There are fewer reporters, especially foreign correspondents, than ever. Meanwhile, the big boys have been in constant experimentation mode trying to figure out how to gin up pageviews, capture the mobile market, and otherwise stand out in a commoditized field.

The Times has made cuts to its newsroom staff several times over the last six years. The paper eliminated 100 newsroom jobs in 2008, another 100 in 2009, and 30 more senior newsroom jobs at the beginning of last year.

Despite those cuts, the newsroom staff has grown to about 1,330, approaching its largest size ever, according to the company, up from about 1,250 at the end of last year. Some of that growth is a result of adding jobs for digital efforts, like web producers and video journalists.

I wish them luck but have little confidence that any of this will succeed. If anything, it’ll make the NYT less relevant. We don’t need another Buzzfeed, after all.

 

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. C. Clavin says:

    Pretty good buyout offer for Guild members:

    Generally, you will receive three weeks of salary for every year worked at The Times, with the potential payout capped at two times your annual salary.

  2. stonetools says:

    I might do a subscription to the NYT-not because I need to, but just because I support the idea of an agency that does independent investigative reporting-both here and abroad. There no long longer seems to be a private for-profit model that supports that anymore.
    I’m already supporting NPR, but maybe I have to dig a little deeper.

  3. Guarneri says:

    Speaking of a changing economic environment…

    I was taken to task in comments in Doug’s piece a few days ago on economic performance. I simply pointed out that, unlike a monkey, you have to look past the headline and fudge factor…..er, “adjustments” to get a better feel for reality.

    Well, the manufacturing index just printed. Oops. Orders and backlog she no look so good. Lucy, you got some splainin’ to do!

  4. JKB says:

    The record is broken, keeps repeating the same over and over. People stop listening.

  5. Pinky says:

    @JKB: Who considers the NYT the newspaper of record, anyway? Not people in about 43 states. Not people whose political opinions vary outside of a certain fairly small range. There just aren’t many times that many people would say, “this was in the Times, so it’s got to be right”. Maybe “more likely to be right than the NY Post”, or Twitter, but not necessarily more likely to be right than Wikipedia or AP.

  6. C. Clavin says:

    @Guarneri:
    Well I see now why you didn’t provide a link.
    Here’s what I found.

    (Tempe, Arizona) — Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in September for the 16th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 64th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.
    The report was issued today by Bradley J. Holcomb, CPSM, CPSD, chair of the Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. “The September PMI® registered 56.6 percent, a decrease of 2.4 percentage points from August’s reading of 59 percent, indicating continued expansion in manufacturing. The New Orders Index registered 60 percent, a decrease of 6.7 percentage points from the 66.7 percent reading in August, indicating growth in new orders for the 16th consecutive month. The Production Index registered 64.6 percent, 0.1 percentage point above the August reading of 64.5 percent. The Employment Index grew for the 15th consecutive month, registering 54.6 percent, a decrease of 3.5 percentage points below the August reading of 58.1 percent. Inventories of raw materials registered 51.5 percent, a decrease of 0.5 percentage point from the August reading of 52 percent, indicating growth in inventories for the second consecutive month. Comments from the panel reflect a generally positive business outlook, while noting some labor shortages and continuing concern over geopolitical unrest.”.

    http://www.ism.ws/ismreport/mfgrob.cfm

  7. James Joyner says:

    @Pinky:

    Who considers the NYT the newspaper of record, anyway? Not people in about 43 states. Not people whose political opinions vary outside of a certain fairly small range. There just aren’t many times that many people would say, “this was in the Times, so it’s got to be right”

    Academics and other journalists, mostly. That is, NYT is essentially our archive of news reporting. If I’m trying to assess how a story was covered contemporaneously, especially across a large number of cases, the NYT Index is where I’d go. No other paper has that status.

  8. Guarneri says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Go to zero hedge. Look at orders and backlogs. Look at inventories from any number of sources……you little economist, you.

    It’s funny. I get economic reports/outlooks from four major financial institutions including JP Morgan and other Obama friendly places. They have all been telling me for 3 years now that things are “positive.” Econbrowser has been doing same as long as Bidens “summer of recovery.

    But growth is sluggish, the consumer never comes through, unemployment only comes down through statistical artifact, incomes are stagnant………

    But if you think that’s fine, that’s fine with me.

  9. C. Clavin says:

    @Guarneri:
    No…I don’t think it’s fine. I think it’s exactly what Republicans want…so I can never really understand your whining.
    Show me one economy similar to ours that has experienced significant growth while slashing the public sector? Yet Republicans insist on austerity in the face of…first recession…and now weak recovery.
    Your economic theories are complete failures. But you refuse to accept any sort of responsibility for their failure…much less admit how pathetic they are. It’s always Obama’s fault. Things will be better when a Republican is elected President and they start spending money and growing government like they always do.
    Again…this is the economy you wanted…stop complaining…you got it.

  10. gVOR08 says:

    In the NYT blockquote:

    Despite those cuts, the newsroom staff has grown to about 1,330, approaching its largest size ever, according to the company, up from about 1,250 at the end of last year.

    So…. they’ve slashed employment from 1250 to like 1230? End of the world.

  11. James Joyner says:

    @gVOR08:

    So…. they’ve slashed employment from 1250 to like 1230? End of the world.

    But “employment” isn’t the right unit of measure here.

    Some of that growth is a result of adding jobs for digital efforts, like web producers and video journalists.

    Basically, they’re cutting back on reporters and editors, seasoned pros who commanded a high salary, and are replacing them with kids out of college whose job is to generate pageviews.

  12. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @James Joyner: Oh, wait a second…are you saying that the quality of the jobs is as important as the quantity of them? If so, is it possible that the recent growth of the labor force is not a significant a marker of economic recovery as we imagine it is? Or does that only work for “seasoned pros” jobs?

    The difference between a recession and a depression–in a recession you don’t have a job, in a depression I don’t have a job.