About a month ago, Seattle Times editor Kathy Best sent the newspaper's staff a memo announcing "significant staff reductions" and gave employees until December 31 to decide whether they'd take voluntary buyouts. Yesterday afternoon, Best announced to the staff who'd be leaving the paper, a list that includes some editors and staffers who've been at the paper for decades.
Best told The Stranger last month that the Seattle Times is "reducing the newsroom budget by 6 percent through a variety of cuts, including people." The Times has about 200 reporters, editors, and other newsroom staffers.
In an e-mail to employees yesterday afternoon, Best said 14 people submitted expressions of interest in the buyout—one week of pay for each year of work at the paper up to 13 weeks—and all of those were accepted. The total list of people leaving the paper is 15; it's not clear who was laid off without a buyout. Best did not say in the e-mail whether any more layoffs will be necessary, and she did not immediately return a request for comment (I'll update this post if she does). [UPDATE: Times spokesperson Michelle Ruiz clarifies by e-mail that all 15 employees who are leaving are receiving buyouts. Gail Scott, executive assistant to the editorial staff, is not part of the newsroom, which is why she wasn't included in Best's count of 14. Ruiz says, "No other cuts are planned at this time. It’s likely that we will be reinvesting in some areas, particularly those that can add digital skills to our newsroom."]
"I want to thank each person who came forward to volunteer for departure at this time," Best wrote. "In spite of us having to say good-bye to some of our colleagues, I’m pleased we were able to offer this option."
Best said most of the 15 will leave on February 5 and leadership will now "be assessing how the work done by the departing individuals will be handled."
Here are the names on the list, and what I could find about each staffer on the Seattle Times website and individual LinkedIn accounts:
Marilyn Bailey, news desk editor
Misha Berson, a theater critic who wrote a book about West Side Story
Becky Bisbee, a business editor who's held that position for 15 years
Jack Broom, a general assignment reporter who's been at the paper for almost 39 years
Denise Clifton, the visual strategy editor who helped lead the paper's recent website redesign
Ave Delph, news desk editor
Brian Gallagher, assistant lifestyle features editor
Kristin Jackson, who has written and edited for the paper's travel section since 1984
John Lok, a photographer who's been shooting for the Times since 2003
Bob Payne, whose job title is "editor, partnerships and audience engagement," a position he's held since 1998
Richard Seven, a news desk editor who has held different positions at the paper for nearly 30 years
Teresa Scribner, a page designer who also teaches at Cleveland High School
Gail Scott, executive assistant to the editorial staff who has been at the paper since 1986
Jennifer Sullivan, a crime reporter who was part of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2010 for the paper's coverage of the shooting of four Lakewood police officers
Bob Warcup, a page designer who has worked on some of the paper's special projects, including its yearlong investigation into hazardous lead at shooting ranges
This post has been updated to correct the story for which Sullivan and other reporters won a Pulitzer Prize in 2010.