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News Corp. Seeks 'Substantial' Job Cuts at Wall Street Journal

News Corp. Seeks 'Substantial' Job Cuts at Wall Street Journal

(Getty/Michael Nagel)

By    |   Friday, 21 October 2016 02:14 PM

News Corp.'s The Wall Street Journal on Friday offered all of its news employees around the globe the option to take buyouts, as it looks to cut costs in the face of declining advertising revenue.

"We are seeking a substantial number of employees to elect this benefit, but we reserve the right to reject a volunteer based on business considerations," wrote Gerard Baker, editor in chief of The Wall Street Journal.

Employees of the financial newspaper, owned by billionaire Rupert Murdoch, have until Oct. 31 to volunteer. 

A spokeswoman at Dow Jones declined to comment.

Earlier this week, Dow Jones & Co Chief Executive William Lewis announced a three-year plan to cut costs in response to a decline in print advertising. Dow Jones is the parent of The Wall Street Journal.

The goal of the review, dubbed WSJ2020, is to modernize the newsroom and improve its mobile and professional information business products, Lewis wrote in a memo Wednesday outlining the plans.

Newspapers are looking to reduce their headcounts to adapt to the changing media landscape. More readers are getting news online, causing once-lucrative print advertising dollars to shrink. In May, the New York Times offered buyouts to newsroom staffers and employees in its business departments, without ruling out the possibility of firings.

The future of sustaining a newspaper on advertising looks bleak. Newspaper advertising revenue is expected to shrink to $5 billion by 2019 from a peak of $49 billion in 2005, according to the ad agency Magna Global.

The Journal also foreshadowed its own future earlier this week when it reported that "newspapers are suffering an accelerating drop in print advertising, a market that already was under stress, forcing some publishers to consider significant cost cuts and dramatic changes to their print and digital products."

Indeed, the recent years have been financially difficult for the newspaper industry.

Pew Research recently discovered that a "shakier than ever" newspaper industry has dumped about 1,000 staffers a year over the last 20 years — slammed by ad cuts that have contributed to the demise of 100 outlets since since 2004.

The Pew Research Center study finds 2015 was "perhaps the worst year for newspapers since the Great Recession and its immediate aftermath."

"Daily circulation fell by 7 percent, the most since 2010, while advertising revenue at publicly traded newspaper companies fell by 8 percent, the most since 2009. At the same time, newsroom staffing fell by 10 percent in 2014," the report states.

The "State of the Media" report shows 20,000 newspaper staffers have been booted in the last 20 years — and that there's little evidence the trend is ending, or even slowing.

"The State of the News Media in 2016 is uncertain, with daily newspapers looking shakier than ever, digital advertising and audiences continuing to grow, and TV news mostly seeing gains in revenue," the report declares.

And while  newspapers keep being sold off, gutted or even killed one well-heeled owner of 32 dailies and 47 weeklies says it's not going to happen to his publications.

Billionaire business magnate and investor Warren Buffett tells USA Today's Rem Rieder:

"It's almost unnatural how much I love newspapers … We would never sell a newspaper. I want to be the last guy standing."

Buffett's BH Media Group owns such well-established papers as his hometown Omaha World-Herald, Richmond Herald-Dispatch, the Winston-Salem Journal and the Press of Atlantic City.

As for acquiring more newspapers, Buffett said it's not out of question, but "you have to look very hard" first.

"Hope is not gone," said Buffett, who is worth $62 billion according to Forbes.

(Newsmax wire services Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report).

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News Corp.'s The Wall Street Journal on Friday offered all of its news employees around the globe the option to take buyouts, as it looks to cut costs in the face of declining advertising revenue.
wall street journal, job, cuts, buyouts
Friday, 21 October 2016 02:14 PM
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