In April 2009 the New York Times Co. threatened to shut down the Boston Globe, unless $20 million in cuts were made from the unions. After a tumultuous 6 months, it appears that the Boston Globe is ready to move on, and just last week the Times Co. decided to take the Globe off the market after receiving at least two preliminary offers for $35 million. The Times Co. noted that the Globe has significantly improved its financial footing by following the strategic plan it set out at the beginning of this year, a positive sign for the paper that was losing $1 million a week earlier this calendar year.
Yesterday, it was Boston’s neighboring city that would receive the bad news, as the New York Times executive editor Bill Keller sent out a memo announcing that the newsroom needs to be trimmed by 100 people. Employees will first receive buyout offers (which the Globe did in February 2008), and layoffs will occur if the needed cuts are not met.
Here is an excerpt from Keller’s memo to his staff:
I had planned to invite you to the newsroom and break this news in person today, but I’ve been hit by something that seems to be the flu. Though I strongly believe in delivering bad news in person, I don’t want to add insult to injury by spreading infection.
Let me cut to the chase: We have been told to reduce the newsroom by 100 positions between now and the end of the year.
We hope to accomplish this by offering voluntary buyouts. On Thursday, the Company will be sending buyout offers to everyone in the newsroom.
Getting a buyout package does NOT mean we want you to leave. It is simply easier to send the envelopes to everyone. If you think a buyout may be right for you, you have up to 45 days to decide whether you will accept it or not.
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.
Our colleagues in editorial and op-ed, and on the business side, also face another round of budget cuts.