New York Times Co's flagship newspaper plans to eliminate several weekly sections and cut freelance spending to save millions of dollars in annual costs, according to a memo obtained by Reuters.
The Times's moves, which it also reported through an article on its website on Thursday, is the latest effort to cut costs by the struggling newspaper publisher.
Taken together, these moves will save millions of dollars -- savings that would otherwise have to come out of payroll, Executive Editor Bill Keller wrote to employees on Thursday.
The paper is cutting pay for nonunionized employees at the Times and other papers and is seeking similar concessions from unionized employees. It also has threatened to close the money-losing Boston Globe should it not find ways to cut millions of dollars in costs.
In a copy of the memo obtained by Reuters, Keller said that he does not know how the Globe's situation will be resolved, but said financial forecasts for the parent company have not changed in the past month.
He would not rule out job cuts. As I have said on past occasions, there is nothing sacrosanct about the current size of the newsroom, but if the day comes when we decide to undertake a cut in the staff, it should be driven not by the temporary crisis of a recession, but by a careful calculation of our long-term priorities.
A New York Times spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.
The Times will cut weekly sections covering New York City and nearby locations, including New York's Long Island and Westchester County, along with New Jersey and Connecticut, according to the article on the Times's website.
Instead, the news that would have run in those sections will be used in a separate Sunday section that is scheduled to appear as early as May 24, the memo said.
The Times will eliminate its Escapes section and absorb its content into the Weekend section, and stop running a separately labeled New York report in the first section of the Sunday paper. It also will stop running a regular fashion layout in the Times Magazine, and move its guide to the contents of each day's paper to one page from three.
New York Times, which reports its quarterly financial results next week, is one of many U.S. newspaper publishers that is dealing with a decline in advertising revenue as more readers shift their attention to the web instead of print.
The moves that it took on Thursday come on the same day that Washington Post Co told employees in a memo about changes it will make to the newsroom of its namesake paper that will consolidate some editing and reporting tasks.
It also comes on the same day that USA Today publisher Gannett Co Inc reported a 60 percent drop in first-quarter profit.
The economic crisis has accelerated those ad declines.
In the Times's case, it has been forced to take steps to relieve its debt load, including borrowing money from Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim and selling its stake in its New York headquarters building.
It also is looking for a buyer for its interest in the holding company that owns the Boston Red Sox baseball team.
New York Times shares fell 4 cents, or less than 1 percent, to $5.70 on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Robert MacMillan, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)