National Geographic Announces “Voluntary Staff Reduction Plan”

National Geographic Magazine announced to their staff that they are implementing a “voluntary staff reduction plan” in order to cut costs. The offer extends to their editorial staff, with a late-August deadline for volunteers.

The deal allows anyone to apply, but only 20 will get it. The buyout package gives employees 2.5 weeks of full pay per year of service, but the benefits package only extends six months. One source tells us that this package isn’t much of an improvement over previous packages offered to laid-off employees (up from 2 weeks of full pay per year of service).

Many at the magazine–both current and former employees–believe that the cuts are a way for the magazine to thin the thick herds (National Geographic is, by most measures, overstaffed…primarily at the mid- and senior levels) and switch to a more traditional magazine structure. Said one: “It’s like they have five people for every job that needs to get done.” Many liken National Geographics structure to that of a publishing house: Very slow, staff heavy and with lots of redundancies.

One question: What will they do if more than 20 people apply?