New York Times Signals More Newsroom Layoffs Are Imminent

An email sent to staff Thursday also details the end of certain perks.

Ole Spata/DPA/ZUMA

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


The New York Times indicated today that it’s getting close to a round of forced layoffs of its journalists.

The newsroom-wide email sent Thursday morning, obtained by Mother Jones, details responses to employee questions about a scheduled buyout program from Janet Elder, a deputy executive editor at the company. The email states that, “the most frequently asked question is about scale and whether or not there will be enough buyouts to avoid layoffs. Given that the buyout window is still open, it’s hard to have an absolute answer to that question just yet. Early efforts to handicap the outcome regrettably point to having to do some layoffs.”

The email says the buyout window for newsroom employees closes on December 1, 2014. Danielle Rhoades Ha, a director of communications at the New York Times Company, confirmed the email from Elder and said there would be no further information made public at present about the buyout program or layoffs.

The Times announced a plan in October to cut 100 newsroom jobs starting with a buyout program. Dean Baquet, the executive editor, wrote to staff then that layoffs were possible if not enough volunteers stepped forward: “We hope to meet this number through voluntary buyouts. But if we don’t get there we will be forced to do layoffs.?” At the end of October, the New York Times Company reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue, and projected a further slowdown in ad sales, according to Reuters.

The Times had some other bad news for employees who are considering taking a buy-out package: Certain perks are going away, including free access to MoMA. “We’ve been asked a lot of questions about everything from “Can I keep my laptop?”… to “Does my retiree ID card allow me free access to museums?” (Most of the museums we’ve asked have said yes except for MoMA.)”

Rhoades Ha added in response to Mother Jones: “The company supports certain cultural institutions and as a result, employees get discounted entry fees. It’s not part of anyone’s ’employment package.'”

The full email is reproduced below:

Date: Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 10:01 AM
Subject: A Note From Janet on Buyouts

Dear Colleagues,
The window for voluntary buyouts closes on Monday, Dec.1, at 5 p.m. We’ve been asked a lot of questions about everything from “Can I keep my laptop?” (it depends, talk to Walt Baranger) to “Does my retiree ID card allow me free access to museums?” (Most of the museums we’ve asked have said yes except for MoMA.)
But the most frequently asked question is about scale and whether or not there will be enough buyouts to avoid layoffs. Given that the buyout window is still open, it’s hard to have an absolute answer to that question just yet. Early efforts to handicap the outcome regrettably point to having to do some layoffs.
For the most part, we’ve been trying to review and either accept or reject voluntary buyout applications as they come in. Not all applications can be approved. Some jobs are too critical to our mission to let go. Many of you may still be contemplating the buyout. If you think it works well for you and your family, we urge you to give it serious consideration.
It is worth repeating here that if we do go to layoffs, there will not be any taps on the shoulder. Throughout this process, Dean has urged everyone to have a frank conversation with his or her supervisor about whether or not their goals match those of The Times. That’s still a good idea.
If you have any questions in the coming days please do not hesitate to reach out to Dean, Ian, Susan, Matt or me.

— Janet

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate