The New York Times announced a new buyout offer today, the paper reported on its Web site, adding that the goal is to cut 100 newsroom jobs, about 8 percent of the newsroom staff.
A story stated the paper will resort to layoffs if it cannot get enough people to leave voluntarily.
“The program mirrors one carried out in the spring of 2008, when the paper erased 100 positions in its newsroom, though other jobs were created, so the net reduction was smaller,” the story says. “That round of cuts included some layoffs of journalists—about 15 to 20, though The Times would not disclose the actual figure – which was the first time in memory that had happened.”
The story notes that the paper’s news department “peaked at more than 1,330 employees before the last round of cuts.” The current number is about 1,250.
The paper plans to send buyout packages to the entire newsroom staff on Thursday. Employees then have 45 days to decide whether to seek a buyout. Under the Newspaper Guild contract, the buyout offers two weeks’ salary for each year of service, the story said.
In a note to the news staff, executive editor Bill Keller wrote: “As before, if we do not reach 100 positions through buyouts, we will be forced to go to layoffs. I hope that won’t happen, but it might,” the story said.
“I won’t pretend that these staff cuts will not add to the burdens of journalists whose responsibilities have grown faster than their compensation,” he added. “Like you, I yearn for the day when we can do our jobs without looking over our shoulders for economic thunderstorms.”
The Times told the Newspaper Guild late last month that it was open to offering voluntary buyouts in a move to avert additional layoffs.
The newspaper also had said it would restore pay levels for union members in January 2010, after salaries were cut by 5 percent earlier this year.