Saturday, May 28, 2005

Even The New York Times Is Putting Forward A Buyout

These are certainly challenging times in the newspaper business. Now, even the New York Times is resorting to a buyout, although not as big a one as is customary at the Los Angeles Times.

Pleading "the problems of sluggish gains in circulation and advertising and the rising cost of newsprint," the NYT announced this past week that it would eliminate about 130 jobs, including "fewer than two dozen in the newsroom." Another 60 jobs are being eliminated at the NYT-owned Boston Globe.The cuts are less than 2% of the papers' work force.

In a memo to NYT employees, Executive Editor Bill Keller, said the voluntary packages would be offered in the newsroom to "a limited pool of staff members, including some reporters, some editors and some support and administrative staff."

Keller, however, added that the newspaper would continue to hire as needed to maintain the strength and competitiveness of the news staff.

"That being said, we have also concluded we can tolerate a slight contraction in staffing in certain parts of the newsroom, by reorganizing and consolidating duties in a way that will not damage the paper," Keller said.

What a relief! At the Los Angeles Times, the many buyouts have damaged the paper.

Unlike the L.A. Times, which has seen circulation drop sharply and has cut back national distribution of the paper drastically, the New York Times continues to try to build a national publication, adding constantly to the cities where there is daily delivery of the paper. Still, with all this effort, the NYT daily circulation continues to hover between 1.1 and 1.2 million and in recent years has grown only slightly.

The NYT recently announced it would start charging subscribers to its website $49.95 a year to see the columnists and certain features, plus have access to the paper's immense archives.

Several years ago, the NYT purchased the other half of the International Herald Tribune from the Washington Post and continues to develop that well-known international paper. It now has circulation of about 240,000.

Daily and Sunday New York Times circulation now is offered at a cost exceeding $500 a year.

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