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Washington Times Announces Significant Staff Reductions

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The Washington Times today announced what it called “significant staff reduction of its 370 personnel.”

Michael Calderone of POLITICO says his sources put the number at about 40 percent, which would represent roughly 148 people.

The newspaper, which is owned by News World Communications, a division of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church, has seen unprecedented upheaval over the past few months. Earlier in November, executive editor John Solomon resigned amid rampant rumors of the newspaper’s demise. In addition, there have been reports of security guards monitoring staff activity, as well as a discrimination complaint from the former editorial page editor, who said he had been “coerced” into attending a church event. Church and newspaper officials have long denied any influence by the Unificiation Church over the newspaper’s policies, practices and editorial content.

Here is the newspaper’s press release about the staff reductions:

The Washington Times LLC today announced changes to refocus its position as a provider of vital information and insight to readers in the nation’s capital, across the country and around the world. As with other news organizations in the United States, the company continues to reshape operations to keep pace with the dynamically changing economics of the news business.

“These changes will continue The Washington Times’ transformation into a 21st century media company and reinforces its mission to provide an independent, alternative voice in the nation’s capital,” said President and Publisher Jonathan Slevin. “We have developed plans to secure our position and advance our vital role in an evolving media marketplace and through challenging economic times. A new Washington Times will continue to reach readers and more effectively earn new audiences via digital, broadcast, print and wireless media.

“Changes at the Times are rooted in a rigorous business analysis, applying sound and tested financial principles, and shaping plans informed by current marketplace realities,” continued Slevin. “In this regard, the company is aggressively working to achieve efficiencies of scale that must include significant staff reduction of its 370 personnel.”

Scheduled for incremental implementation between now and the first half of 2010, the changes announced include:

• News focused on strengths. The Washington Times news operation will operate in a highly focused manner, investing in Washington Times’ well-established core strengths that include exclusive reporting and in-depth national political coverage, enterprise and investigative reporting, geo-strategic and national security news, and cultural coverage based on traditional values.

• Controlled-market local circulation. In the first quarter of 2010, the local print edition will be distributed at no cost in select areas, and home/office delivery will be offered at a premium price. No-cost distribution will focus on targeted audiences in branches of the federal government as well as at other key institutions. Single copy sales will continue through newspaper boxes and retailers at select locations. Current subscribers will also be offered a choice of subscriptions to Washington Times digital editions and The Washington Times National Weekly.

• Digital news resources: The company will expand the recently-launched theconservatives.com, subscription-based e-briefings and other new digital information resources as part of its online strategy.

• Radio programming. The newspaper’s 3-hour-a-day morning radio program, “America’s Morning News,” will continue to grow through syndication by Talk Radio Network. The program currently airs in more than 70 markets nationwide.

• Partnerships. The Washington Times will work closely with its affiliate company, United Press International (UPI), to mutually benefit both organizations through collaboration in areas such as photography and online sales, as well as leveraging UPI’s multi-lingual and international presence.

“The new Washington Times will continue to report Washington-focused news that other journalistic enterprises often overlook,” said Slevin. “Fearless reporting, respect for American values, and crisply written editorials and columns will remain the centerpieces of our new strategy, and our content will continue to engage readers and viewers through a wide range of 21st century media.”

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Written by newscycle

December 2, 2009 at 5:07 pm

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