Updated Oct 10, 2023 - Economy

WaPo offers voluntary buyouts in an effort to cut 240 jobs

Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Washington Post is offering voluntary buyouts to employees across its organization in an effort to eliminate 240 jobs, its interim CEO Patty Stonesifer said in a note to staff Tuesday.

Why it matters: The news comes as The Post tries to strengthen its financial position ahead of bringing on a new, full-time CEO.

  • The Post is on track to lose $100 million this year, according to a source familiar with the company's financial situation, after failing to bring in a profit last year thanks to heavy investments in new editorial positions, most notably climate and wellness.
  • Like other major publishers, it’s struggled with an advertising slowdown over the past year. The company has also lost hundreds of thousands of digital subscribers since its peak of 3 million subscribers during the Trump era.

Details: In a note to staff, Stonesifer said that the company's leadership had concluded, following an 8-week review, that its prior projections for traffic, subscriptions, and advertising growth for the past two years and heading into next year were overly optimistic.

  • She said the company is developing a plan to bring the business to a better place in the next year and that the buyouts are designed to reduce its workforce in the hopes of avoiding layoffs.
  • "In an effort to reduce the workforce by 240 people, The Washington Post will be offering voluntary separation packages to employees across the organization. We think this puts us in a strong place for 2024 and beyond," a Washington Post spokesperson said.

Be smart: This is the second wave of job cuts The Post has experienced in the past year. In January, the company eliminated 20 positions, and eliminated its gaming vertical and kids section.

  • Cuts at The Post, which billionaire entrepreneur Jeff Bezos still owns, have pushed more employees to unionize.
  • In August, Axios reported that The Post’s union had consulted with members of The New York Times union about preparing to possibly stage a walk-out to bolster their contract bargaining efforts with management.

The big picture: The Post's CEO and publisher of nine years, Fred Ryan, stepped down earlier this year.

  • Stonesifer is in the process of hiring a new executive to lead the company.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details.

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