Thursday, April 16, 2009

New York Times Eliminates Some Weekly Sections to Streamline Costs

The New York Times will eliminate several weekly sections with other parts of the newspaper absorbing some content starting next month in a move that is aimed at saving millions in annual costs, Executive Editor Bill Keller said Thursday in a Times story written by Richard Perez-Pena.

The sections that will be affected are Escapes, published on Fridays, and Sunday sections that only readers in the New York metropolitan area receive: City and regional sections named for New Jersey, Long Island, Westchester and Connecticut, Perez-Pena wrote.

The individual Sunday sections will no longer be published. Instead, the Times will create a new Sunday section that combines some elements of them with new features about New York City and the region. It will also include features that formerly appeared in the New York report.

There will be a zoned page with material specific to the part of the region where it is sold. Keller said that the new section, still unnamed, will appear on May 24 at the earliest.

Daily New York City news will be included in the first section alongside national news.

The Friday Escapes section will disappear on May 1 with parts of that section appearing in the Weekend section.

On May 10, The New York Times Magazine will no longer contain a regular fashion layout. Fashion reporting and photography will continue in the T magazines published every few weeks, and in the weekly Sunday and Thursday Styles sections, the Times announced.

The guide to each day’s newspaper that is printed on the second, third and fourth pages of the first section will be consolidated into a single page, much as it was until last year, Keller announced.

In addition, the newspaper is planning to reduce its spending on freelance work by 10 to 15 percent. The sections that are affected had relied on freelancers for the bulk of their copy. People might be reassigned in the newsroom, but no staff reductions are contemplated at this time, Keller said.

These moves come weeks after the Times cut the pay of non-union managers by five percent for the rest of the year. In addition, about 100 people have been laid off from the business side of the newspaper giant.

Keller told staff in the memo that “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.”

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