NY Times sees cuts, investments in strategic plan

New York: The New York Times said today it will be cutting its newsroom budget this year, but also investing USD 5 million for covering the Trump administration as part of a strategic reorganisation.

The “2020 Group” report by key Times staffers outlines plans by the prestigious daily to shift resources while remaining relevant in the digital era.

A memo by executive editor Dean Baquet and managing editor Joe Kahn said that “there will be budget cuts this year” to be specified soon, noting that “we cannot pretend to be immune from financial pressures”.

With a newsroom of around 1,300, the Times is one of the world’s biggest news organisations but it has struggled financially as readers move away from print to online news, which is far less lucrative.

Baquet and Kahn said they see this opportunity “as a necessary repositioning of The Times’s newsroom, not as a diminishment”.

“We are deeply committed to protecting our investment in the original newsgathering and storytelling that make The Times so indispensable in our readers’ lives,” the memo said.

This means an investment of “an additional USD 5 million so we can produce even more coverage of the incoming Trump administration”.

They wrote that “covering this story aggressively, fairly and unrelentingly will be the top priority for The New York Times newsroom this year”.

One of the areas likely to face cuts is the editing staff, the memo said, citing “too many layers, too many hands on every story, and too many people involved in meddling with small fixes” in news stories.

“We must move away from duplicative and often low-value line editing. It slows us down, costs too much and discourages experiments in storytelling,” the memo said.

Baquet and Kahn also said the Times will emphasise “visual journalism throughout the newsroom”.

“Visual-first journalists should be involved earlier in the process, shaping not just the form but also the content of stories,” they said.

“This shift will involve significant changes in culture, structure and staffing, as well as investment in training and tool-building. Many more text-based and visual journalists should sit together and collaborate regularly.”

The move comes amid growth at the rival Washington Post, which announced recently it has become profitable under new owner Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, even as it has expanded its newsroom and improved its technology.