Gawker has published a list of the New York Times staff who are thought to have accepted the optional buyouts offered in October. The deadline for taking the buyouts was 8 December, and it is estimated that only about 50 staff have accepted, far short of the hoped-for target of 100, meaning that the paper will have to resort to lay-offs. These should be made in the next couple of weeks.
Gawker's list includes reporters from a wide variety of sections, including several business writers and several DC-based staff, as well as several copy-writers and photographers. The Metro desk will be losing more than 80 years of experience as five staff members out of 50 have chosen to leave.
Those whose contracts are under the Newspaper Guild will generally be offered three weeks' salary for each year of service, and non-union staff would be offered two weeks, it was reported when the buyouts were first announced. Staff already experienced a 5% pay cut earlier this year which was intended to forestall staff reductions, but this did not prove to be enough. Even after losing 100 employees, the NYT's newsroom will still be by far the largest in the US.
In a country with very few truly national quality newspapers, the fate of the New York Times is all the more important, particularly because the paper is often looked to as an example of what to aspire to. The paper has been investigating different ways to tackle its financial difficulties: as well as looking into introducing paid online content and a membership scheme, the paper has also considered seeking support from foundations.