"If we do not have enough volunteers," Fortune Managing Editor Andy Serwer said in his memo to staff, "we will need to begin a process of involuntary layoffs."
Sports Illustrated Managing Editor Terry McDonnell was more explicit, saying 40 volunteers were needed to avoid involuntary layoffs. People threw in an offer to let some full-time employees work only four days a week, with a pay cut to match extra the day off.
Tough times at mags
Time Inc. said Oct. 28 it was reorganizing the company and developing plans to eliminate hundreds of jobs, all in response to the rapidly worsening economic conditions.
Since then almost every other magazine company, and in fact most media companies, has swung the ax. Rodale cut 10% of its head count, Conde Nast ordered 5% budget cuts, American Express Publishing reduced head count by 22 spots and Hearst made cuts at several titles, closing O at Home magazine entirely. Last week Time Inc. said the managing editor of Money, Eric Schurenberg, was leaving as part of the company's changes.
The economic downturn has exacerbated challenges already facing the print industry; Time Inc. had already eliminated more than 800 jobs since 2005 in a bid, now failed, to maintain growth.
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Read the Time memo:
From: Richard Stengel, Time U.S.
Sent: Monday, Nov. 10, 2008
Subject: Staff Announcement
Due to the corporate restructuring, we need to reduce approximately 20 staffers at Time across the following guild-covered categories: edit traffic assistant, writer-editor, staff correspondent, writer-reporter, reporter-researcher, designer, research cataloger and research librarian.
Volunteers in these positions or any others can raise their hands any time in the next two weeks. If we do not have enough volunteers by Monday, Nov. 24, we will begin a process of involuntary layoffs.
Anyone interested in having a confidential conversation about volunteering or severance should contact Human Resources.