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New York Times Layoffs Underway; Speculation Ensues

new-york-times-building.jpg

The New York Times is in the midst of finalizing the layoffs of 100 newsroom employees. New York magazine has a partial list of those laid off, and reports 74 employees took buyouts, leaving 26 spots for management to cut.

As usual, the Times is not commenting on personnel mattes. Per the following email sent by Times Executive Director of Community Affairs and Media Relations Diane McNulty to Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan:

Hamilton,

As you know, The Times does not and will not discuss personnel matters, nor reveal any names or numbers relating to the current staff reduction. As a result, The Times cannot and will not comment on the list of specific names you picked up from NY Magazine, except to say the list is in error, as is the information you posted about our blogs. There have been no decisions about shutting down either of those blogs.

Thanks,
Diane

From a PR perspective, would the Times be better off just putting the list out there to end speculation, or are there legal or other reasons for them not doing so? “It’s unethical to release the names of people you laid off, and most companies recognize that,” one PR executive familiar with the Times told PRNewser.

Regardless of HR practices, “it’s not fair to anyone who’s being laid off to have the company announce that,” they said. Another PR exec said that the responsibility for getting the world out falls on the journalist, “to let people know they are on the market.”

Another option would be to “ask the employees if they’d like their names to be released…you know other people are going to report on it anyhow,” said one reporter.

When BusinessWeek recently announced layoffs in conjunction with their acquisition, many laid off reporters announced the news via Twitter. So far, we haven’t seen that happen with the Times.

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