January 4, 2013

The Washington Times has just laid off newsroom staffers in a move that’s been in the works for weeks. New top editor David Jackson and new Times CEO Larry Beasley broke the news at a meeting of approximately 20 employees, according to one person who attended.

“They came in and said, ‘It’s unfortunate to have to do this. This is the toughest part.’ … They’re sorry and they have to make painful decisions moving forward,” reports the now-former employee. “I would call it pretty much boilerplate.”

One person asked Jackson and Beasley how the paper would manage with what would now be a threadbare photo department. The answer was that the Times would have to be resourceful and perhaps use wire photos when available. More standard, depressing newspaper-downsizing talk, in other words.

Layoffees will get a half-week of severance pay for each year they’ve been with the publication, though everyone will get a minimum of two weeks’ severance. Health benefits, according to the source, will be paid through the end of the month.

Rumors are flying about the names of which Times staffers have been let go. We’ll publish those once we get confirmation directly from them.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.