Media The Smaller Seattle Times
posted by November 4 at 15:01 PMon
A source at the Seattle Times shares more details on the 100 layoffs announced yesterday. Managers have notified employees that they will be paring down the sections. The weekday edition is being reduced to just three sections: Main, local, and sports. All the Lifestyle content will be folded into the local and main sections, and Northwest Life’s food, wine and garden sections are being eliminated. There will be no more Saturday inserts. The last day for those who get the pinks slips will be December 12. There’s still no announcement on who is getting cut—but the above housecleaning, the source says, suggests the layoffs aren’t over.
A letter sent yesterday from Frank Blethen and Carolyn Kelly to the Times’s employees is pasted below the jump.
TO: Seattle Times Employees FROM: Frank Blethen and Carolyn Kelly DATE: November 3, 2008 Even in this unprecedented national economic crisis our newspaper readership and online audience continue to be strong and stable. The Seattle Times Company’s print and online network reaches 70% of the adults in King and Snohomish counties. We are, by far and away, the area’s leading and most popular provider of news and information. And we are also the leading and most effective medium for area advertisers. With so much challenging news, it’s instructive to note that:
- The Seattle Times was one of the only metro newspapers in the United States to actually grow circulation from 2000 through 2007
- The Seattle Times Company’s online network is the most dominant online news network in the state
- seattletimes.com recently ranked among the top 16 newspaper Web sites nationally
But even with this great readership and audience success, we have had to adjust to structural industry changes which have reduced advertising revenue in all media, worldwide. Even the growth of online revenue has stalled in this world economic slowdown.
Prior to the country’s current financial crisis, the Seattle Times Company did an excellent job making necessary adjustments in staffing and infrastructure in response to the structural changes in the newspaper/electronic media business. Unfortunately, today’s economic situation is forecast to last through 2009 and possibly into 2010. Like almost every other business, we are now forced to further downsize the Seattle Times Company to adjust to the economic malaise.
Within your departments today you will hear more detail about the steps being taken for the 2009 budget, including the staff positions being reduced.
Among the most difficult is the workforce reduction of approximately 130-150 positions, a combination of voluntary separations and layoffs. Additionally, there will be reductions in hours for some groups. In certain job categories, Expressions of Interest (voluntary separations) are being considered. Specifics will be communicated within departments.
As the 2009 budgeting process continues, there will be additional expense reductions, which may include additional layoffs.
As difficult as these operating decisions are, it is important to remember we have been here for 112 years, weathering many ups and downs, and these budget actions are necessary to respond to the current economic conditions and to position our newspaper and online operations for many more years of success and community service.
As always, we are deeply appreciative of your contributions as a member of The Times family.
Frank and Carolyn