The New York Times announced today that it plans to cut about 100 newsroom job, and is hoping to make the necessary reduction via the much-loved "voluntary buyout" to avoid straight-up firing staff.
The reasons behind the cuts were detailed in a note from Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., and chief executive Mark Thompson.
"The job losses are necessary to control our costs and to allow us to continue to invest in the digital future of The New York Times, but we know that they will be painful both for the individuals affected and for their colleagues," the note said.
The announcement follows hot on the heels of several other high-profile media companies moving to shitcan newsroom employees, a fact the Times was oh-so quick to point out.
"The Wall Street Journal cut dozens of jobs this summer, USA Today eliminated 70 positions in September, and Freedom Communications carried out layoffs in January at two smaller local newspapers, The Orange County Register and The Press-Enterprise of Riverside."
While the 100 position would only account for about 7.5 percent of the paper's total newsroom staff, the announcement sparked debate about the success and viability of the the Times' paywall.
Neiman Labs' Ken Doctor argued that, while the paper had initial success moving to a paywall amd gaining ober 870,000 paying "digital only" reader, attempts to build on that success by offering niche paid mobile apps did not pan out.
"Those forecasts haven't come true, and in their wake, we see the substantial cut of 100 newsroom positions announced today, and a change in its niche apps strategy.
The core content and paywall strategy of the Times worked — that's Paywalls 1.0 — but building on it has been tougher than planned. Today's move is significant, but it's one that should be understood carefully."
In additon to the cuts, the Times also annocued that it would be shutting down one of the niche apps, NYT Opinion, because it wasn't attracting enough subscribers.