Digital Untouched as Times Cuts 190 Offline Jobs

The New York Times Company announced yesterday that it will cut 190 jobs from its business operations and newsroom by the end of August — the latest in a series of events that points to a more interactive future for the venerable newspaper.

“This is really about streamlining our operations, lowering our costs in what has been a difficult advertising market,” New York Times spokesperson Toby Usnik told ClickZ News.

The majority of the cuts, which represent less than 2 percent of the company’s total staff, will come from non-journalist staff at the Times and the New England Media Group, which includes The Boston Globe. More than two-thirds of those will come from the Times newspaper, with only 20 of its 1,200 newsroom employees affected. The company will make the cuts by offering certain employees a voluntary separation package. No positions on the digital side will be eliminated.

At the same time, the company has been redoubling its online efforts. It announced plans in February to acquire About.com from Primedia for $410 million, a deal which closed in March. The Times has been staffing up interactive efforts and shifting execs from its print business to About.com.

Last week, the Times announced plans to begin charging for some of its online content, including columnists and archived stories.

“We’re undertaking a lot of growth initiatives, in both online and print,” Usnik said. “We’re continuing to invest in most of our properties, including the New York Times and Boston Globe.”

While the company is clearly not abandoning its print properties, it appears to be focusing its energies where it sees the most potential for growth. Ad revenues have been steadily increasing in its online divisions, while growing more slowly in its offline operations.

In April, advertising revenues across the company rose 3.7 percent over April 2004, including an increase of 0.7 percent over last year at the New York Times Media Group, 3.4 percent at the New England Media Group, and 5.8 percent at the Regional Media Group. At the same time, Internet ad revenues across the three groups rose 31.6 percent, which the company attributed to strong growth in display advertising and online classifieds.

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