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Downie to Posties: ‘No Layoffs’

On the agenda for this afternoon’s all-staff meeting at the Washington Post: The latest Pugwash and “progress on readership and diversity initatives.” Is a “readership initiative” a new way of saying “arresting the free-fall of our circulation numbers”?

> UPDATE: The Post’s Executive Editor, Len Downie began this afternoon’s meeting by saying, “I have two words for you: No layoffs.” All through, there weren’t many fireworks — in contrast, you might remember, to the last Post staff meeting after the hiring of new ME, Phil Bennett.

Downie also reassured the staff that there were no buyouts currently planned, contrary to the Post rumor mill, and ditto for rumors of a formal hiring freeze. What he did say was that the paper will be be making hires more slowly and with greater scrutiny, taking it “one hire at a time.” Also, it appears that the overall budget and news hole will be flat, which means that with inflation and the Post’s merit raises, there were be trimming to be done–most likely in expenses.

In terms of the product, Downie reported that he loves reading the Post’s daily critiques, thinks too many routine stories run long, and that part of Bennett’s new role as Sunday Paper Guru will be to make the Sunday papers newsier. As such, more reporters may end up working a Tuesday to Saturday schedule to bring in more news since, as it stands now, in Downie-esque flair, the Sunday paper is “dulled by estrangement from the news.”

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