The good of the company
Time Inc., the country's largest magazine publisher, spent the morning telling hundreds of staffers their jobs were being eliminated -- in its latest and largest yet round of staff cuts -- for the company's good.
"As you all know, the past year has been a time of transition at Time Inc.," said Chairman-CEO Ann S. Moore in a midday memo to staff. "While we continue to invest in our core magazines, we are also focused on transforming our work force and broadening our digital capabilities in order to become a truly multiplatform publisher.
Hopes for buyouts
"But progress brings change and we need to continue to evolve to meet the cost pressures and challenges presented by our rapidly shifting industry," she added. "Today I need to share with all of you that we are announcing layoffs throughout the organization."
Of the 289 jobs eliminated, 117 are coming from the business side. Of the 172 editorial jobs being axed, the company hopes 86 will come from volunteers taking buyout packages -- while the other 86 are simply losing their posts.
It was a deeply unpleasant morning for many.
Time magazine's regular 10 a.m. meeting was canceled in favor of an all-hands gathering later on, leaving staffers to worry and wait. The word in the end was that the newsweekly will lose 40 or more spots, of which it hopes 31 will be volunteers. Time also shut down its Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta bureaus.
"Everyone is pretty bummed out, as you can imagine," said one surviving Time staffer.
People Managing Editor Larry Hackett held a conference call to describe the cuts at his title, the biggest revenue generator in Time Inc.'s portfolio, and said the magazine is closing its bureaus in Washington; Miami; Chicago; and Austin, Texas, where about 20 staffers had worked.
Sports Illustrated will give up some two dozen employees.
After the layoffs, this month's sale of Progressive Farmer magazine and the pending sale of 18 magazines from the Time4 Media and Parenting groups, Time Inc.'s employee rolls will number just 10,500, down from roughly 12,000 before.
All the cuts are part of an intensive and continuing efficiency drive at the company, which as part of Time Warner feels pressure from Wall Street to show newfound growth year after year. The media landscape is changing around it at the same time, too, making digital investment a priority and uncertainty a guarantee. Although Ms. Moore's memo did not address whether any more layoffs could come, an insider said the company is done with large-scale staff reductions for the foreseeable future.
Under Ms. Moore, the company has sought efficiency and streamlined decision-making in a variety of ways, including the staff reductions that came with a reorganization in December 2005. That first round of layoffs affected 105 people including veterans such as Jack Haire, exec VP-corporate sales and marketing group; Eileen Naughton, president, the Time group; and Richard Atkinson, exec VP-news and information group.
Time Inc. eliminated another 100 or so jobs last February, mostly from the editorial side, then 250 more in April, mostly from the business side. It closed the print edition of Teen People in July; it put the Time4 Media and Parenting Group assets, which employ about 560 people, up for sale in September. Last month, it axed 27 midlevel and junior employees from its consumer-marketing division.