With buyouts, ‘Times’ loses significant trove of institutional knowledge and memory, for better or worse
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It's a slow news cycle (knock on wood!), and so the newsroom culling at The New York Times remains the story of the day.
Among the dozen or so who took buyouts are major figures like John Geddes, Jim Roberts, Joe Sexton and Jonathan Landman. The Awl's Choire Sicha and HuffPost's Michael Calderone offer some context on what that means for the paper:
The departure of four influentialTimes editors clears out major institutional knowledge, and as well, in some cases, probably some much-needed emotional space. But really, this is a huge senior bench of the paper. Geddes is co-managing editor for news operations; Landman was managing editor, digital journalism. Also sports editor Joe Sexton is leaving. (LOL. Don't worry about him, he's going off to one of those plum ProPublica jobs. ProPublica is the Bloomberg Foundation of journalism.) These buy-outs are, if nothing else, incredibly disruptive. (Though there can be, again, an upside.)
But while it's understandable that the Times, like other legacy news organizations, needs to cut costs, the departure of so many senior editors and reporters creates the risk of depleting the newsroom's institutional memory.
"You pay some price, but there are still plenty of people who’ve been around a while," Landman said, quick to mention that, in his opinion, the paper continued to get better even as "great" editors of the past moved on. "There’s immense talent at The New York Times," he added.
Still, some current and former Times staff members suggested Thursday that those departing can't easily be replaced.
Meanwhile, the New York Post's Keith Kelly reports that an additional 12 buyouts were accepted by unionized Times employees who are members of the Newspaper Guild of New York, but that those won't count toward the 30-person target that was specified to avoid layoffs, which the paper will now likely have to turn to.
To re-cap, you can find our cheat-sheet on the buyouts here.
In other news...
Former CIA officer John Kiriakou has been sentenced to 30 months in jail for leaking the name of a covert agent to a reporter. [A.P.]
Further cuts at Rolling Stone. [Adweek]
Katie Couric gets props for her Manti Te'o interview. [TV Newser]
Jake Tapper talks about his new gig at CNN. [TV Newser]
CNN has poached ESPN's Rachel Nichols to host a weekend sports show. [Politico/On Media]
The "conservative Huffington Post." [Jim Romenesko]
The New York Post published the most wrong photo caption ever. [The Awl]
More layoffs are coming to Variety. [Deadline]
Timewaster: Generate your own Davos "hotphrase." [Guardian]
Quote of the day...
The press just blows things out of proportion.
So let me get this straight: Freed from the lowbrow demands of the print cover, Newsweek digital ... runs a pro-gun cover by David Mamet?— Tom McGeveran (@tmcgev) January 25, 2013
#Davos in a nutshell: Tonight's Sean Parker party, featuring John Legend, is calling itself a "future of philanthropy nightcap".— felix salmon (@felixsalmon) January 25, 2013
"Most of the people who write for the Times, you wouldn't know who they voted for, but I think the really tough thing right now is that everybody goes out onto social media," said public editor Margaret Sullivan on "Morning Joe" today:
From our inbox...
Bloomberg Businessweek now has an "annual design issue":
Today Bloomberg Businessweek published its first annual Design Issue (on newsstands tomorrow). This special issue features 31 pages of 31 of the world's most accomplished designers tackling the question: How do we pursue new ideas and reimagine products, businesses, cities and experiences without leaving consumers cold?
The clever cover image (on a magazine that has recently gone through a bold reimagining itself) is attached, and you should receive your copy of the magazine shortly.
Cover reads “THE DESIGN ISSUE: 31 designers on how to reimagine your product, your business, and your way of thinking”. It features handwritten edit notations like: “Make bolder” “Can we make the logo pop on the newsstand?”“Is this treatment too quiet?” and “We need to sell this harder”.