Washington

The Washington Post is laying off 20 editorial staff

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The Washington Post laid off 20 employees on Tuesday, the latest in a string of media and technology companies cutting jobs amid a difficult economic climate and continued declines in advertising revenue and readership.

In addition to cutting those 20 positions, the company will have an additional 30 vacancies, a number less than many expected. In mid-December, publisher Fred Ryan told employees the company would lay off a “single-digit percentage” of its 2,500 employees because it “can no longer invest resources in initiatives that don’t meet the needs of our customers.”

As part of the layoffs, The Post will be shutting down its video game and esports section, Launcher, which debuted in 2019, as well as KidsPost, its long-standing news and features section for kids.

In a note to employees Tuesday afternoon, Editor-in-Chief Sally Buzbee wrote that “we are not planning any further job cuts at this time.” She also said that newsroom heads were trying to prioritize eliminating vacancies over laying off workers.

“While such changes are not easy, evolution is necessary for us to remain competitive, and the economic climate has guided our decision to act now,” she wrote. “We believe these steps will ultimately help us fulfill our mission to challenge power and empower readers.”

Despite the layoffs, The Post’s overall job count will remain the same or higher through the end of 2023. The company will continue to hire new staff in other roles, Ryan said. The company will continue to expand its coverage in areas that “provide high value for our subscribers and new audiences,” a spokeswoman for the Post said last month.

As news of the layoffs spread among Post employees on Tuesday, the Washington Post Guild sent a message to its members saying that “we believe that any job cuts right now — at a time of ongoing… growth and expansion – is unacceptable”.

The job cuts at The Post mark a time of internal tension and turnover. Several senior managers and high-profile employees have departed for competing publications. In November, the company abruptly announced the closure of its Sunday magazine, firing its 10 employees and the Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning dance critic. The Post also saw a drop in the number of digital subscribers, a dip that has prompted top management to review its strategic goals and ambitious expansion plans. The workers’ union has seen a record number of new hires, an increase fueled in part by workforce dissatisfaction.

Jeff Bezos, the billionaire owner of The Post, was recently dragged into more direct involvement with the publication. He visited The Post’s headquarters last week and met with top executives, including Ryan and Editor-in-Chief Sally Buzbee, as well as some of the newsroom staff. He attended a morning news meeting after which an employee approached him about the layoffs. He replied that he was there to listen, not to answer questions. But he added, “I’m committed,” the clerk said. “Believe me, I’m committed.”

The industry is in a dark season of cutbacks. CNN laid off hundreds of employees in December. Gannett has gone through several rounds of layoffs over the past year. Last week, Vox Media laid off 7 percent of its 1,900 employees, with the CEO citing the current “economic climate”. On Monday, Spotify cut 6 percent of its workforce, and Google’s parent Alphabet cut 12,000 jobs, the most in the company’s history.

This is an evolving story that will be updated.

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