The Washington Times, a conservative alternative to The Washington Post, has announced it will lay off workers as it seeks to shift its focus to the Internet and other new media.
In a statement from the paper announcing the changes, president and publisher Jonathan Slevin said, “These changes will continue the Washington Times’ transformation into a 21st century media company and reinforces its mission to provide an independent, alternative voice in the nation’s capital.”
The statement didn’t say how many of the Times’ 370 workers will be cut. But staffers told The New York Times that they received a letter from management stating that the reduction will total “a minimum of 40 percent.”
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The paper’s statement announced strategic changes in addition to the layoffs. “The company will expand the recently-launched theconservatives.com, subscription-based e-briefings and other new digital information.” It also plans to expand its radio programming.
Print copies will be given away to important readers such as government officials. Readers can continue to get the paper delivered at home for “a premium price,” and single copies will remain available in newspaper boxes and at retailers.
As for editorial focus, “The new Washington Times will continue to report Washington-focused news that other journalistic enterprises often overlook,” Slevin said.
“Fearless reporting, respect for American values, and crisply written editorials and columns will remain the centerpieces of our new strategy.”
The paper has suffered financial woes, as heirs to its founder Sun Myung Moon have split over the Times’ direction. Moon has relinquished daily management of the Unification Church, which owns the paper.
The Times’ executive editor recently resigned, and three top executives were axed. The former opinion editor has pressed a religious discrimination claim against the company.
Slevin called the staff cuts "very sad" in an interview with The Washington Post. But, "I see a very fine opportunity for the Washington Times to continue to advance the mission of the newspaper as an independent voice in the nation's capital," he said.
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