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‘The Washington Post’ plans to cut 240 jobs through voluntary buyouts

The newspaper went through rounds of layoffs late last year and in early 2023, and saw cutbacks including the ending of its Sunday magazine

'The Washington Post'.
'The Washington Post'.

The Washington Post plans to cut 240 jobs through the offering of voluntary buyouts, the newspaper announced Tuesday. In an email sent to staff, interim CEO Patty Stonesifer said that The Post had been “overly optimistic” about growth projections for the past two years and into 2024. “We are working to find ways to return our business to a healthier place in the coming year,” she wrote.

Stonesifer said that the buyouts would be offered to certain jobs and departments, but didn’t specify which ones. Eligible employees will be notified after an all-staff meeting Wednesday morning, she said, and can later choose to decline or accept the separation package in the coming weeks.

“A much larger group of employees will receive the offer, but acceptances will be capped at approximately 240 people,” Stonesifer wrote. She added that the company was taking the voluntary buyout route in efforts to avert “more difficult actions like layoffs – a situation we are united in trying to avoid.”

The incoming cuts — which are set to impact about 10% of The Post’s 2,500-person staff — arrive following previous, but smaller, reductions seen at the company not long ago. The Post went through rounds of layoffs late last year and in early 2023, and saw cutbacks including the ending of its Sunday magazine.

Tuesday’s announcement came as a surprise. The Washington Post Guild, the union representing Post employees, wrote that it was “infuriated” by the decision and “concerned for our dedicated, brilliant colleagues.” “We cannot comprehend how The Post, owned by one of the richest people in the world, has decided to foist the consequences of its incoherent business plan and irresponsibly rapid expansion onto the hardworking people who make this company run,” the union added in its statement shared on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Tuesday.

Stonesifer became The Post’s interim CEO after longtime publisher Fred Ryan left in June. Ryan had been at the helm of the the publication for nearly a decade, getting appointed one year after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos purchased The Post in 2013.

Ryan angered several at the Post late last year when he refused to take questions about layoffs from his own company’s journalists at a newsroom meeting. The Post also saw some falls digital subscribers over the last few years of his tenure, but Ryan said that his departure had nothing to do with the recent downturn.

In July, The New York Times reported that The Post is on track to lose about $100 million this year. Beyond The Post, many other media publications have seen job cuts in recent months. In June, the Los Angeles Times said last week it was cutting some 10% of its newsroom staff, and NPR said the same thing earlier this year. Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper chain, also laid off hundreds of journalists in 2022.

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