Despite the avalanche of media layoffs, (Gannett, Time Inc., and Business Week publisher McGraw-Hill have all announced major job cuts this week) New York Times executive editor Bill Keller bucked the trend by doing his best to pour cold water on our earlier tip about 20% layoffs coming to its 1,200-strong newsroom. Per the Observer, he told his staff, "I do not see another round of newsroom reductions on the horizon," and that he had access to some sort of special "investment fund" for new hires on the business desk. He even gave a non-denial denial of our original item: "Consider the source." Okay then! But what we're still hearing is that Keller's editorial side of the paper is in the midst of a big fight with the business side over the timing and size of staff cuts. So, while layoffs may not be on his horizon, they are for the people looking at the numbers.The scenario sounds reminiscent of the three-year, knock-down, drag-out battle at the L.A. Times that led to three different top editors stepping down rather than implement the job cuts demanded by Tribune Co. executives staring at dwindling circulation and advertising trends. Eventually, management won (who'd a guessed it?) and the LAT has been shedding jobs ever since. And in another parallel to the ongoing Tribune saga, we also hear that some in the NYT executive suite have broached the topic of putting prize New York Times Co. assets (such as its office building, its stake in the Boston Red Sox, About.com, regional papers) on the block to raise enough cash to take the company private, which, considering the five-year, 80% swoon of its stock price to a $1.4 billion market cap, is becoming an ever cheaper proposition. S
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