MEDIA
10/17/2014 09:14 am ET Updated Oct 17, 2014

New York Times Publisher Admits Recent Layoffs Have Been 'Painful'

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New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. acknowledged Thursday that the recent layoffs at The New York Times have indeed been "painful," but said that the paper must do what it needs to adapt to the rapidly changing media environment, according to Capital New York's Joe Pompeo.

In the latest sweep of layoffs to hit the Times, executive editor Dean Baquet announced plans to cut 100 jobs through voluntary buyouts or layoffs. Some two dozen business-side staffers have already been let go, Capital New York reported in early October.

Sulzberger noted Thursday that despite the layoffs, the Times actually has more journalists in its total headcount today than ever before, a statistic The Huffington Post's Michael Calderone reported in October.

"This is not to suggest going through these cycles is not painful," Sulzberger said at an event at New York University Thursday. "It is."

Indeed, hundreds of positions have been cut from the Times in recent years, and yet the paper still employs about the same number of people -- 1,330 -- as it did in early 2008. The difference is that while other papers have also cut jobs as a result of the decline in print, the Times has continued to hire new employees to fill roles in expanding areas like video, digital and mobile, Calderone wrote.

While announcing the proposed cuts earlier this month, Baquet said in a note to staffers that the Times' newsroom has "weathered" hard times "better than most" and has still managed to succeed in "preserving a large and strong newsroom." He, too, called the layoffs "painful," but assured staffers that the Times was just going through a "transitional period" to lead a more "powerful digital news operation."

But the Times newsroom has definitely been a shaky and uncertain environment in recent months, undergoing some of the biggest staff overhauls in its history. In September, the paper announced major changes to its masthead, most notably to top leadership positions. The most significant change, perhaps, was the elimination of a managing editor position, which Baquet himself used to hold, and the creation instead of four deputy executive editor roles and one creative director.

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