The paper is looking to buy out 200 non-union workers and wants 100 newsroom employees to take the buyouts, reports the New York Times. Advance Publications, the owner of the paper, also seeks buyouts at the smaller Times of Trenton.
“Getting only one will not be enough,” The Star-Ledger publisher, George Arwady, wrote to the staff. “We must have success with both of these objectives.”
If the conditions are not met by Oct. 1, the company said, it will put the papers up for sale. It has already retained JPMorgan Chase to help in that effort. Mr. Arwady warned that any new owner would probably resort to layoffs, and wage and benefit cuts.
The company warned that if it does not get the buyouts and concessions it is seeking at The Times of Trenton, that paper will shut down.
This is mildly surprising to me. While buyouts are nothing new, I was just praising the Star-Ledger for its Webcast and possibly finding a way to help the industry. Now 100 people in their newsroom might be gone by October.
This isn’t a good way to raise morale in the newsroom. Why should reporters continue to do innovative things with multimedia if days later their owner says it’s not enough? I know I personally wouldn’t want to work more if my hard work simply results in a buyout.