NY Times 'bracing for bloodbath,' columnist says
Published: Friday April 25, 2008

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"The New York Times newsroom is bracing for a bloodbath in the next 10 days."

So says NY Post columnist Keith Kelly.

The word from inside is that approximately 50 unionized journalists have accepted the buyout proposal, and only another 20 non-union editorial employees have gotten on board.

That means the ax could fall on as many as 30 editorial people in the company's first-ever mass firing of journalists in its 156-year history.

Executive Editor William Keller had said originally that he was looking to cut 100 people from the Times staff in response to the dismal newspaper advertising environment...

With just 70 people stepping forward for buyouts, it is very likely that 30 newsroom staffers will be forced out in coming days.

A Times spokesman tells RAW STORY that no decisions have been made yet regarding lay offs.

"The details of the staff reduction are still under discussion internally, and no decisions have yet been reached on the scale of the buyouts," said Abbe Ruttenberg Serphos, the Times public relations director, in an e-mail Friday afternoon.

Kelly says the Times doesn't intend to make cuts at the business or national desk, because of competitive pressure from the Wall Street Journal, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

The Metro desk, he says, is expected to take most of the cuts.

Tuesday was the deadline for employees choosing to accept buyout packages, which offer three weeks of severance for each year worked. Management and other non-unionized employees were to have accepted their buyout offers by Monday.

Anthony Napoli, a Newspaper Guild representative, said his office was not sure how names were turned in.

"The process is not finalized," he said. "We're waiting for the Times to tell us how many have been returned and how many have been accepted."