The New York Times' executive editor Jill Abramson emailed staff members today, offering 30 severance packages, mainly targeted at highly paid managers. But she remained open to buying out newer editors and reporters, too. "There is no getting around the hard news that the size of the newsroom staff must be reduced," she told the Times' 1,150 employees before dropping the L-word: "I hope the needed savings can be achieved through voluntary buyouts but if not, I will be forced to go to layoffs among the excluded staff."
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Things had been looking up for the Times this year, too. A wave of hiring on the digital side brought the number of newsroom positions back to 2003 levels. And though advertising money has been steadily declining, reader subscriptions have been increasing to the point where readers — not advertisers — provide the majority of the paper's revenue. This is the Times' fourth wave of buyouts in the last five years, with severance packages being offered in 2008, 2009, and 2011. As bad as things are for the newsroom, things are actually grimmer for The New York Times' business side workers, which have seen 60 percent staff cuts in recent years.