The New York Times is to cut 100 editorial jobs, after resisting cutbacks for several months. The cuts, although hardly a massacre, represent about 7.5 per cent of the newsroom’s 1,300 headcount.
The paper has a newsroom budget of more than $200m. It is one of the few American news organisations that has not cut back on its coverage of Iraq, which is costing the paper about $3m a year.
Lately, as the newspaper industry’s economic picture has worsened, the Times has been under increasing pressure from shareholders to make dramatic changes to improve its bottom line.
Executive editor Bill Keller is hoping the cuts he has ordered can be achieved by not filling jobs that become vacant, but he has admitted that some lay-offs will probably be necessary. He also feared that the cuts will inevitably affect the newspaper’s journalism.
The New York TImes’s 1,300-strong newsroom is the largest in the paper’s history, and more than most other American newspapers.
By comparison, the Los Angeles Times has less than 900 newsroom employees – down from around 1,200 earlier in this decade.
The Wall Street Journal, at the time of its takeover by Rupert Murdoch, had around 750 newsroom staff, its largest-ever headcount.
According to News Corp executives, the figure is expected to grow further, as the paper implements some of Murdoch’s plans – including possibly a sports section and more political coverage.