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NY Times, Washington Post Announce Cutbacks

Pay cuts and layoffs are coming to The New York Times, while The Washington Post says it will embark on its fourth round of buyouts since 2003.

The New York Times Co. is cutting pay for most employees by 5 percent for a nine-month period and laying off 100 people.

The Times reported on its web site Thursday that the cuts will hit most nonunion workers and run from April through December. Employees will receive 10 days off in return.

Union employees have been asked to take the cut voluntarily to avoid potential layoffs at the company, the Times said. The New York Times Co. has been struggling with an industrywide advertising downturn.

Job cuts will come in the newspaper's business operations, amounting to 5 percent of the total 2,000 workers in that part of the company.

'Post' Publisher Cites Drop In Revenue

In a memo to Post employees, Publisher Katharine Weymouth said buyouts are needed because revenue is dropping. As is the case throughout the industry, increases in online advertising are not making up for losses on the print side.

About 230 employees, including famous names like Bob Woodward, David Broder and Tony Kornheiser, took the most recent buyout offered last year. The newsroom shrank in that round from about 800 workers to 700.

"As we move forward, our path is pretty straightforward: we will have to reduce our cost structure," Weymouth wrote.

In an interview, she declined to specify how many buyouts the paper is seeking. In her memo, she singled out a need to reduce jobs in the Springfield, Va., production unit associated with the paper's previously announced plan to close its College Park, Md., production plant and consolidate printing.

The buyouts will also include the circulation departments and the newsroom, and a small number of advertising jobs and technology jobs.

Layoffs Possible At 'Post'

Weymouth said layoffs are possible if too few people volunteer for the buyouts.

The Washington Post Co.'s newspaper division, which includes a few small papers in addition to the Post, brought in $800 million in revenue last year, but that was a 10 percent drop from 2007 and as a whole the papers had about $25 million in operating losses last year.

But The Washington Post Co. remained profitable because half its revenue comes from a business unrelated to journalism — its Kaplan education unit.

In a letter to shareholders dated Feb. 24, Don Graham, company chairman and former Post, publisher said the paper "will lose substantial money in 2009" and that he is willing to let it do so as long as it shows a plan to return to profitability. He noted that the paper carried the Kaplan unit throughout much of the 1990s when it was losing money.

"Today it isn't obvious that even the best-run, most successful newspaper can be consistently profitable. But the Post will get every chance," Graham wrote.

The Post Co.'s corporate structure, like that at The New York Times Co., keeps effective control of the company in the hands of the Graham family and has insulated the paper to some extent from Wall Street demands for even harsher cost-cutting measures that have been employed at some other newspaper chains.

"We have a company that supports our mission and is willing to give us some time" to show a profit, Weymouth said. "We do have some cushion, and we're grateful to have that." (AP)

This program aired on March 26, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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