Saturday, March 11, 2006

Washington Post newsroom cuts

Romenesko points to an Editor & Publisher story which reports that The Washington Post will be eliminating 80 positions in its newsroom through buyouts and attrition. Staff were given the news in a series of meetings that began Thursday and continued yesterday. One of the employees at the meeting was quoted as saying that layoffs were not mentioned.

Travel budgets were also a topic for discussion, with another staffer saying that "the paper would continue to travel with major government figures, but hinting that other travel may be curtailed."

Other cuts that are being rumored include "the eventual closing of at least two foreign bureaus and changes to some other overseas bureaus that would have staffers working out of their homes." It was suggested that some of the changes are a result of the high cost of covering the war in Iraq, a figure that was put close to $1 million a year. However, it was emphasized that a reduction in war coverage was not an option that was being explored at the present time.

Here's the memo that was issued by Post Publisher Bo Jones.

Rick Weiss, the co-chair of the Post's unit of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, was vocal in his concern about the impending cuts. "One concern is that the fewer of us there are, the harder it is to accomplish the core mission of reporting and writing the tough, accountability story. It is going to have a negative impact on the quantity and quality of journalism we can do."

Weiss adds that the task will be particularly difficult given the paper's move toward expanding its Web, television and radio presence. "The more time I spend blogging, doing radio shows and TV spots, the less time I have to generate the news that everyone wants. They are counting on reporters, editors and columnists to fill a lot of airtime."


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