The 'Times' Old Guard Makes a Break for Freedom!

Today’s the day that the New York Times must deliver unto the cost-cutters 30 heads—from the editorial side alone. Not just any 30 heads: preferably, big-league, non-union managers.

And they’ve nabbed a few volunteers. In particular, a big four: Jim Roberts, assistant managing editor and 26-year veteran; Joe Sexton, at the paper since 1987, Jon Landman, also at the paper since 1987, and John Geddes, at the paper since 1994. The departure of four influentialTimes editors clears out major institutional knowledge, and as well, in some cases, probably some much-needed emotional space. But really, this is a huge senior bench of the paper. Geddes is co-managing editor for news operations; Landman was managing editor, digital journalism. Also sports editor Joe Sexton is leaving. (LOL. Don’t worry about him, he’s going off to one of those plum ProPublica jobs. ProPublica is the Bloomberg Foundation of journalism.) These buy-outs are, if nothing else, incredibly disruptive. (Though there can be, again, an upside.)

What’s also amazing about this is it’s two off the masthead—three, if you count Rick Berke, who stepped off the masthead recently. That leaves three assistant managing editors, one managing editor and two deputy managing editors. (Though that could change shortly!)

Apart from that, long-timers Joyce Wadler, James Oestreich (at the paper for 24 years), Jacques Steinberg (since 1988!) and Alice DuBois are also off and running into the brave light of freedom. (Except Alice, she’s just going to BuzzFeeᴅ, same difference. (JK!))

But yes, you can do math. That’s eight people. So, 22 staffers to fire, unless some folks come forward in the next three hours. (And let’s not forget the business side, which everyone always does forget! Already the paper has discarded still new-ish yet expensive spokesbot Bob Christie.)

Don’t worry though, we can do this again in 18 months.