Newspaper spokeswoman Nancy Sullivan said there were a small number of layoffs because of the economic downturn. She declined to elaborate on the number of people who lost their jobs or how many worked in the newsroom.
“As we continue to evolve our business and react to the difficult economic environment, we are downsizing in some areas and adding resources in others,” Sullivan said in a statement.
The newspaper has undergone a series of cuts in recent years, including the elimination of 250 positions in mid-2008. Despite the staffing reductions, the Times is among the four largest newsrooms in the U.S., Sullivan said.
There were about 940 news staffers in April 2007, according to the newspaper. The number has dwindled to more than 600, according to an online staff directory.
Publishers Weekly reported the newspaper laid off all of its freelance book reviewers and columnists last week. Sullivan would only say that the Times has reduced freelancer budgets in some sections.
“I don’t know where these layoffs fit into the long-storied failure at the Times, but these are not smart business decisions. This is shabby treatment,” Susan Salter Reynolds, who was notified her book review column was being cancelled, told Publishers Weekly. Reynolds had been with the newspaper for 23 years as a staffer and a freelancer.
Tribune Co. owns the Chicago Tribune, the Times, other major newspapers and more than 20 television and radio stations. The company entered bankruptcy protection three years ago and it is working with creditors on competing plans to reorganize its finances.