Washington Post set to reduce staff by up to 240 employees to cut costs

October 12, 2023
Ben Marquis

Former President Donald Trump accumulated a lot of enemies in the mainstream media, arguably none more so than The Washington Post, though there are certainly others that have vied to top that list.

Like many other media outlets, The Post has struggled financially since Trump was replaced by President Joe Biden in 2021, and now the newspaper appears set to cut a sizeable portion of its staff in order to improve its economic situation, according to the Daily Caller.

Reports indicate that as many as 240 employees could be let go, a nearly 10% reduction of The Post's roughly 2,500 total staff, which will follow a prior round of cost-cutting in December 2022 that apparently was insufficient to right the outlet's sinking fiscal ship.

Employees offered a "generous" and "voluntary" separation package

New York Times reporter Ben Mullin obtained and shared a copy of a memo sent Tuesday to all Washington Post employees by interim CEO Patty Stonesifer to announce the imminent staffing cuts, which were due to the fact that "our prior projections for traffic, subscriptions, and advertising growth for the past two years -- and into 2024 -- have been overly optimistic and we are working to find ways to return our business to a healthier place in the coming year."

To be sure, Stonesifer remained "bullish about the future" for The Post "if we prioritize and plan appropriately. But the urgent need to invest in our top growth priorities brought us to the difficult conclusion that we need to adjust our cost structure now."

As such, staffers will be offered a "voluntary separation package" that includes "generous incentives" for those who accept it, particularly "employees in specific roles where we believe we can reduce costs if work can be assigned more efficiently, where positions do not need to be replaced or where we can otherwise achieve cost savings through a voluntary reduction in our workforce."

To make the process "fair," the package will be directly offered to far more than just the targeted reduction number of 240 employees, and those packages will be awarded based on seniority if more than the required number of employees volunteer to receive them.

Stonesifer noted that the hope behind the "voluntary" reduction was that The Post could avoid potentially larger and involuntary layoffs in the future.

Newspaper is "bleeding cash"

This announcement in staff reductions comes just a couple of months after Stonesifer took charge of the financially struggling media outlet, which Townhall reported in July was on track to have lost around $100 million this year alone after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos bought the newspaper for $250 million 10 years ago in 2013.

As was alluded to in the memo, that report noted that the outlet was "bleeding cash" in large part due to a substantial decline in subscriptions, but also because it has not adapted particularly well technologically to the newer online media realm that has increasingly replaced the old ways of print media.

Of course, The Post is far from alone in the media in terms of its current financial struggles, as the Daily Caller observed that both CNN and NPR, among others, have been compelled to cut costs and lay off staffers over the past year.

Layoffs occurring in many different sectors

Nor is it just the media that is feeling an economic pinch, as Forbes maintains an actively updated tracker of layoffs at major manufacturing and tech firms since the start of 2023 -- a damning indictment of President Biden's economic policies, though few in the media will make that obvious connection.

The lengthy list compiled by Forbes is sobering, to say the least, and likely totals up to thousands, if not even tens of thousands of workers who have lost their jobs this year.

Whether this "voluntary" staff reduction at The Post will suffice to avoid additional reductions through involuntary layoffs obviously remains unclear, and it will be interesting to see how this all plays out going forward.

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