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New York Times to Cut 100 Newsroom Jobs, Invest in Its 'Digital Future'

New York Times to Cut 100 Newsroom Jobs, Invest in Its 'Digital Future'
(Gary Hershorn/Reuters/Landov)

By    |   Wednesday, 01 October 2014 10:02 AM

The New York Times said Wednesday it plans to cut 100 newsroom jobs in the latest move by the prestigious daily to adapt to industry upheaval.

"The reduction in positions will vary across the company," the publisher said in a regulatory filing.

The Times’ efforts to transform itself into a digital newsroom with specialized stories and online subscription packages has so far not been enough to make up for the ongoing decline in its print business. Both print advertising and print circulation fell in the second quarter, surpassing the gains in the Times’ digital business where ad rates are far cheaper than in print.

"The job losses are necessary to control our costs and to allow us to continue to invest in the digital future of The New York Times, but we know that they will be painful both for the individuals affected and for their colleagues," according to a note to employees cited by the daily.

The note from publisher Arthur Sulzberger and chief executive Mark Thompson also said that a mobile app dedicated to opinion content was shutting down because it lacked enough subscribers.

The job cuts represent around 7.5 percent of the newsroom staff of 1,330 — which according to the newspaper is a record high. The Times has been adding jobs over the past year for online and video news initiatives.

The Times will be offering buyouts to journalists and will resort to layoffs if it cannot get enough people to leave voluntarily, according to the note.

The daily has been struggling to remain profitable in recent years and has been pushing harder to emphasize digital content as print subscriptions decline. The Times has also been selling off "non-core" assets including the Boston Globe newspaper and websites unrelated to its news operations.

But even as the Times shifts its focus, it is being challenged by a new breed of all-digital news operations with lower costs.

Executive editor Dean Baquet, in a separate note to the staff, said he would use the opportunity "to seriously reconsider some of what we do — from the number of sections we produce to the amount we spend on freelance content."

The news comes following a tumultuous period which saw the dismissal of executive editor Jill Abramson, who was replaced by Baquet.

Abramson's dismissal in May unleashed a polemic in the media world amid speculation that she was fired for complaining about being paid less than her male counterparts — an allegation denied by the company.

In the most recent quarter, the New York Time Co. reported a sharp drop in profits as lower advertising revenues offset gains in digital subscriptions.

Net profit for the second quarter fell to $9.2 million from $20.1 million in the same period a year ago. Total revenues fell slightly to $389 million, with circulation revenues up 1.4 percent and ad revenues down 4.1 percent.

The bottom line was also hurt by higher operating costs, which the company attributed to increased investments in boosting the digital profile of the prestigious newspaper publisher.

Digital advertising revenues were up 3.4 percent but that failed to offset a 6.6 percent drop in print advertising revenue.

The company said print advertising revenue was expected to fall further. "Print advertising is notoriously volatile and the third quarter was no exception," the New York Times said.

The company's shares were trading at $12 on Wednesday morning on the New York Stock Exchange. Up to Tuesday's close, the stock had fallen nearly 30 percent this year.

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The New York Times said Wednesday it plans to cut 100 newsroom jobs in the latest move by the prestigious daily to adapt to industry upheaval.
media, newspaper, New York Times, job cuts
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 10:02 AM
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