Times kills autos section
The New York Times is killing its automobiles section as part of a broader effort to cut costs.
Executive editor Dean Baquet announced the decision Wednesday morning, telling staff in a memo that "the masthead and I concluded there is no longer an economic reason for a separate section" devoted to automobile coverage. The section, which runs on Sundays, will cease publication as of the first of the year.
The Times also is in the midst of cutting 100 positions from its newsroom through buyouts and, if necessary, layoffs. It was unclear from Baquet's memo whether Jim Cobb, who oversees the 20-year-old autos section, will remain with the paper.
The Times is looking to improve its financial picture as it grapples with ongoing declines in print advertising and challenges to its digital-subscription strategy, where growth appears to have slowed. The company will report its third quarter earnings on Thursday.
Autos is a testament to the diminished print advertising climate.
"In the day, the insatiable demand among print advertisers had the coverage spread across several days, including Sunday," Baquet wrote. "Now we'll consolidate our print efforts on Friday, while remaining nimble on the web."
The full memo is below:
As I said in a previous note, we are reviewing sections of The Times as part of our effort to cut costs in the newsroom. So I regret to announce that as of the first of the year we will no longer publish a stand-alone autos section.
We will continue covering the automobile industry, of course, as evidenced by our sensational investigative reporting on the ignition switch problems in General Motors cars. And we will run consumer stories in the Business section, including regular coverage on Fridays. The Driven videos will continue online.
But despite sensational work over the years by Jim Cobb and his crew, the masthead and I concluded there is no longer an economic reason for a separate section.
Jim was there 20 years ago when the Sunday section was launched, and he has made The Times proud ever since. In the day, the insatiable demand among print advertisers had the coverage spread across several days, including Sunday. Now we'll consolidate our print efforts on Friday, while remaining nimble on the web.
There will be opportunities in the coming weeks to single out the great work of Jim, Norman Mayersohn, Jim Schembari, Robert Peele and the many contributors, but let me start here by saying how grateful I am for two decades of imagination and dedication in making our Sunday section the best read in the business.