New York Times cuts freelance spending

The New York Times is curbing its use of freelance writers and paring back their editorial sections under a new belt-tightening attempt to save millions in annual costs.

Its executive editor, Bill Keller, messaged staff yesterday, saying spending in dollars on freelancers will fall by 10 to 15%, though he said newsroom staff were unaffected.

He warned that several weekly sections would go, particularly those heavily reliant on freelancers, while some content would be absorbed to other parts of the paper.

The shake-up and cost-cuts, largely deployed to cope with declining advertising revenues, will result in some full-time staff being reassigned to new areas, Mr Keller said.

One of the most visible and imminent changes, due to greet readers from Tuesday, is a condensing of the Times’ three-page daily index into a single page.

A similar shrinking exercise at the end of May will see the paper’s region-specific Sunday sections, offering local news, downsized into pages within one section.

Mr Keller also said the Escapes travel section will disappear after April 24, and, ten days later, the New York Times Magazine will cease to feature weekly fashion spreads.

But fashion editorials will run in the Times ‘T’ magazines and in the Sunday and Thursday Styles sections, while travel content will appear in the Friday Weekend title.

“The hope and expectation remain that the pay cuts and the spending cuts outlined above will get us through the year without the need for other significant reductions,” the NYT wrote on its website.

In the memo, Mr Keller reportedly reflected: “Taken together, these moves will save millions of dollars — savings that would otherwise have to come out of payroll.”

The Times said creating fewer sections cuts printing costs, because of the saving on ink and newsprint, whether or not it reduces the number of pages or the amount of material printed.



Home page editorial image courtesy of Dom Dada


17th April 2009

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