The New York Times is preparing for a round of layoffs and budget cuts aimed at helping the paper remain competitive in an ever-more cutthroat media environment.
A team of seven journalists released a report of their recommendations to the paper Tuesday, after spending a year reviewing TheNYT newsroom and practices in accordance with a directive from executive editor Dean Baquet. The anticipated assessment — known internally as the “2020 report” — recommends a series of broad changes that include hiring more diverse journalists so the paper better reflects the audience it wants to attract.
The transformation laid out in the report will require budget cuts and layoffs, Baquet and his managing editor Joe Khan said in TheNYT Tuesday. “We view this moment as a necessary repositioning of The Times newsroom, not as a diminshment,” they said, adding that the cuts will lead to a “smaller and more focused” newsroom.
“The world is changing really rapidly,” NYT columnist David Leonhardt said in an interview with the paper. “We have to keep up, and even get ahead of it.”
In addition to fewer editors and reporters, the paper is planning to reorganize reporters according to various subjects, and to maintain a separate hub for the print edition of the paper in such a way that the digital edition is in the driver’s seat. The cuts will focus on getting rid of “duplicative” layers of editing toward the end of a story-writing process, and increasing focus on the earlier stages of editing, such as formulating story ideas and shaping the report.
While the report urges the paper to remain devoted to a subscription-based model rather than getting caught up in a race for the most clicks, it also warns the paper cannot remain complacent and stay atop the news business.
“If we rest on our laurels, we are going to put at risk this big lead that we have,” Leonhardt added. “We need to do more and we need to do it faster.
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