As Reuters‘ Robert MacMillan writes, this has been one of the worst weeks for journalism in terms of job losses.
Now it’s getting worse. Following layoffs at BusinessWeek and the Associated Press, The Washington Post has laid off an unspecified number of people working for washingtonpost.com, the paper’s web site.
The bottom line is that the web site, long an entirely separate editorial operation, is being integrated back into the paper’s newsroom, thus the perfect opportunity to cut payroll. But MacMillan says there are other motives:
The company, all my sources tell me, want to cut staff before the end of the year because next year the remainder would become unionized. Web staff are not unionized now. That, my sources say, would make it much more difficult for the money-losing Washington Post to cut costs by laying off people because they would be protected to some extent by their contract.
According to a knowledgeable source, the ranks of the RIFed number around ten so far.
City Desk is working on compiling a list of the dismissed, which reportedly includes at least one big industry name.