Keller To NYT Newsroom: Please Leave – It’s For Your Own Good

New York Times executive editor Bill Keller’s memo to employees on Friday took on a note—but only a note—of desperation as he urged employees to seriously consider taking a buyout to reduce the number of layoffs the company will implement to reach its goal of cutting 100 people from the newsroom.

He wrote:

We urge you to give the offer serious consideration if you believe there is some financial advantage in it for you and your family. Each buyout we record before next Tuesday reduces the number of layoffs we will have to seek.

Today is the last day for staffers to sign up. As of Friday, somewhere between 40 and 50 staffers had opted in to the buyout package, according to multiple sources (though Keller didn’t specify a number). If the Times really resorts to laying off 50-60 employees this month, it will be the worst New York Times newsroom layoff anyone can remember. In 2008, the company trimmed 15-20 newsroom jobs; that was “the first time in memory” there had been any layoffs in the newsroom.