In a combination of buyouts, layoffs, and voluntary departures, 23 people will soon leave the Seattle Times newsroom as the paper faces falling ad revenue and attempts to restructure its newsroom.
Five of those staffers are non-union employees
who took buyouts*. According to an email to staff from editor Don Shelton, some of those are editors who've been at the Times for decades.
• Kathleen Goodfellow, executive assistant to the editor
• Andrew MacRae, senior product manager in audience development
• Greg Rasa, news editor (Rasa has been at the paper 30 years, according to his LinkedIn page.)
• Whitney Stensrud, assistant managing editor in visuals
• Mark Watanabe, technology editor (Watanabe has also been at the paper nearly 30 years, according to LinkedIn.)
"I know that seeing these names likely evokes many emotions and questions," Shelton wrote. "It’s never easy to say goodbye to people we know and care about, and doing so with multiple people at one time is particularly difficult."
Four others are voluntarily leaving the newsroom:
• Mary Ann Gwinn, books editor
• Audrey Carlsen, news applications developer
• Sharon Pian Chan, deputy managing editor
• Agnes Al-Shibibi, desk editor
Gwinn and Carlsen are leaving the Times entirely; Pian Chan and Al-Shibibi accepted jobs in other parts of the company and won't be replaced, Shelton wrote.
The bulk of the cuts, though, will come through layoffs and those names have not yet been finalized.
The company has notified 14 union-represented employees that they are likely to be laid off based on seniority. In his email, Shelton highlighted the job categories where the cuts will be made, offering more senior staffers the chance to take a buyout and "potentially save a coworker’s job." Staffers have until January 20 to volunteer.
Here's the breakdown Shelton offered for possible layoffs if not enough employees take buyouts:
Desk Editor - 2
Desk Editor, Sports - 1
Digital Production Assistant (photo) - 1
News Artist - 1
News Page Designer - 2
Photographer - 1
Reporter - 2
Listings coordinator - 1
News Resident - 2
News Resident Sports - 1
UPDATE JANUARY 9, 2:25 PM: Matt Pentz, who covers the Sounders for the Times, announced on Twitter he is a "casualty of the most recent round of newsroom layoffs."
Including both the buyouts and layoffs, the list is heavy on editors. Earlier this week, Shelton outlined the company's plan for "restructuring." Along with "short, trendy posts," aggregating other outlets' stories, and using analytics to figure out which beats to emphasize, Shelton said the paper will reduce the amount of editing and design for stories that are not on the front page.
Talented people at The Seattle Times are losing their jobs. Your jokes about reading news in incognito mode are hi-lar-i-ous.
— Paige Cornwell (@pgcornwell) January 7, 2017
While Shelton did not reveal in his email who was notified of potential layoffs, one Seattle Times staffer told The Stranger, "we have a pretty good idea of who they will be."
"Based on who we think will be laid off, it's clear the layoffs are impacting younger people and people of color," the staffer said. "This is a huge loss... It was people who were working the hardest for the least amount of money."
*CORRECTION: It is not clear which of the five non-union employees identified in Shelton's email accepted buyouts and which were laid off.