Read The New York Times buyout memos (edited highlights)

March 26, 2009

As we reported earlier on Thursday:

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Two of the most respected U.S. newspaper publishers, The Washington Post Co and The New York Times Co, are embarking on new cost cuts in the face of dramatic declines in advertising revenue.

You can read most of The Washington Post memo on MediaFile, as well as the juicy parts of what Washington Post Chairman Don Graham wrote to shareholders on Wednesday about the state of the company. Here, meanwhile, are the edited memos sent by New York Times executives to employees:

From Times Publisher and Times Co Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr, as well as Times Co Chief Executive Janet Robinson:

The salaries of all employees at The New York Times Media Group (with the exception of the IHT, which is working on other cost reduction measures), The Boston Globe, Boston.com and Corporate in New York will be rolled back by 5%, starting this April, and these employees will receive 10 additional days off to use before the end of the year.

At the About Group, Baseline, Globe Direct, International Media Concepts, Regional Media Group, Shared Services Center and Worcester Telegram & Gazette, the approach is similar, with salaries being rolled back by 2.5% with five additional days off. We made the distinction between the two groups by taking into account location and other factors. Next year, we plan to return salaries to their current levels. Of course, such a decision depends on the state of our business. …

This was a very difficult decision to make. The environment we are in is the toughest we have seen in our years in business. Across our Company, you and your colleagues have worked hard to introduce innovative products and services, reduce expenses and improve productivity. We are deeply grateful for your efforts and proud of your achievements. As we take these painful steps together, we remain confident that our great Company will keep moving forward to better times.

And from New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller and other top news executives:

Clearly, our course is not getting any easier. The recession, especially the deteriorating advertising climate, is exacting a bitter toll, despite all that we have already done to reduce spending.

This morning, we notified about 100 employees on the business side of The Times that their jobs were being eliminated. We thank these dedicated colleagues for all they have contributed to The Times over the years.

The broader announcement today outlines a temporary salary reduction for the remainder of the year for all non-union employees, including the top leadership of the company. It is our hope that these cost-cutting measures will allow us to avoid further layoffs.

The details of the salary reduction will be communicated to you shortly by your senior managers. Although employee pay will be cut by 5% for the remaining three-quarters of the year, you will be entitled to 10 additional personal days off over the nine months. Next year, we plan to return salaries to their current levels. Of course, such a decision depends on the state of our business.

In addition, we will be asking that our Guild-represented colleagues make a similar sacrifice. The Company plans to discuss this with the Guild leadership this afternoon, in a spirit of shared sacrifice and as a way to otherwise avoid layoffs in the newsroom.

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