'Times' Announces Newsroom Layoffs

About an hour ago, New York Times staffers received a holiday gift from executive editor Bill Keller—an announcement of layoffs! The cuts will come from the newsroom "for the first time in recent memory," according to the memo. A dozen "support positions" will be eliminated from the newsroom, along with "a number" of clerical administrative jobs; next year, several admin management positions will be cut. The Times apparently put a hiring freeze into place several weeks ago, and "except for those jobs that are critically important to our future ambitions, we intend to enforce it," Keller writes. Full memo after the jump.

————— Forwarded message —————
From: Ellen Kavier
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2007 12:26:14 -0500
Subject: [NYT Newsroom] Message from Bill Keller
To: newsroom@ahot.nytimes.com

To the staff:

Despite growing pressure on the newsroom budget, The Times has continued to
turn out great journalism, whether it's covering Iraq, New York City or the
most crowded Presidential campaign in memory. We've been able to do this,
in part, because each of you has helped us save money by finding new and
more efficient ways to do what we need to do. That has enabled us to avoid
the kind of drastic staff cutbacks other news organizations have endured.
Jill, John and I greatly appreciate everything you have done.

As we approach 2008, it is clear that the newsroom is going to have to do
even more to tighten spending, and to help the publisher and the Times
Company meet the difficult financial challenges facing our industry. While
we are committed to retaining our competitive muscle, we will be facing
some tough choices about where to save. That is why I must tell you that
there are going to be layoffs in the newsroom, for the first time in recent
memory. The people who are affected are not journalists, but that does not
make this news any easier to share.

Today we notified the Newspaper Guild that about a dozen support positions
within the newspaper are being eliminated. We will, for example, be
closing the Recording Room as well as trimming a number of clerical and
secretarial jobs. The people in those jobs will receive the severance they
are entitled under the Guild contract.

During 2008, we also expect to eliminate a few management jobs in
administrative areas.

This staff reduction does not include any journalists, nor any widespread
buyouts, as has happened in the past. But as many of you know, we put into
place a hiring freeze several weeks ago, and except for those jobs that are
critically important to our future ambitions, we intend to enforce it. As
journalists resign or retire from the Company next year, we will be trying to fill their
positions internally.

As we move into 2008, we will be rethinking coverage priorities and how we
use our space and our people, but always in ways that preserve what The
Times does best. In the future, as in the past few months while these
matters were under review, we have worked closely with our partners on the
business side, with a single shared ambition: to seek cutbacks and
reductions that are as strategically focused as possible, and do nothing to
damage our core journalism.

Bill