Jill Mackie, spokesperson for the Seattle Times, confirms something I've been hearing this morning:
“We announced layoffs yesterday of 20 people across the entire company," Mackie said. “While any layoffs are not desirable at any time, it’s 20 layoffs across the board out of a total full-time workforce of over 1,000.”
Five of those 20 layoffs are from the Times newsroom. But, Mackie added, “None of the layoffs in the newsroom involve on-the-street reporters or photographers.”
What does "on-the-street reporters or photographers" mean, exactly?
“It means exactly what I said," Mackie said. “I’m not going to go into great specifics. It involves other newsroom employees, including managers.”
The layoffs across the rest of the Seattle Times Company involved seven people in "operations," two in finance, and six in sales and marketing.
“It’s really driven by the ongoing economic downturn as well as our desire to position the Times to compete in tomorrow’s information marketplace," Mackie said. "So, as a part of that we’re reducing costs, and part of that is a limited number of targeted layoffs. These layoffs are designed to minimize the impact on our ability to provide outstanding journalism to the community.”
Mackie said the layoffs involve both union and non-union employees, and that the Times will now be bargaining, as required by contract, over the effects of the union layoffs.