The Washington Post plans to cut at least 80 newsroom jobs through attrition and buyouts, according to sources at the paper who said editors began giving staffers the bad news on Thursday in meetings and continued today.
"My understanding is that the editors and managing editors brought this up with other issues of downsizing, but with no layoffs," said one source in the metro staff, which got first word of the news in a meeting Thursday. "It looks like through attrition and buyouts."
A source in the national staff said a meeting was held this morning to give them the bad news, with similar gatherings throughout the day. "Eighty through attrition and buyouts," the source said. "They are going staff by staff."
The paper has more than 800 editorial employees, many represented by the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild. Rick Weiss, a Post reporter and Guild unit chair at the paper, could not be reached for comment this morning.
Another national staff writer, who attended this morning's meeting, said editors raised the issue of travel costs as well, saying the paper would continue to travel with major government figures, but hinting that other travel may be curtailed. The reporter said people were unsurprised by the announcement. "There was no slash and burn, no doom and gloom," the source said. "They said the model is changing."
Other cost cuts also are being rumored, including the eventual closing of at least two foreign bureaus and changes to some other overseas bureaus that would have staffers working out of their homes.
Sources said editors explained that some of the foreign cuts were the result of high costs covering the Iraq war, up to $1 million per year. But they stressed that war coverage would not be reduced, at least for the moment.
Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. and Publisher Bo Jones did not return calls from E&P seeking comment.
Post spokesman Eric Grant offered no comment when asked about the pending cuts or any official announcement, saying only, "not at this point."
Joe Strupp (email@example.com) is a senior editor at E&P.