The New York Times Co. said yesterday that its third-quarter earnings fell more than half from the comparable quarter last year, days after the Times-owned Boston Globe told employees that the paper's national staff is being trimmed to save money.
The Times Co. -- which publishes the New York Times, the Globe and several smaller papers and owns television and radio stations -- reported third-quarter profit of $23.1 million, compared with $48.3 million in the third quarter of 2004. Revenue increased 2.2 percent, to $791 million.
The company blamed the sharp income decline on a soft Boston advertising market, the cost of staff buyouts earlier in the year, printing expenses and the cyclical nature of broadcast advertising, which rises in even-numbered years -- thanks to Olympics and political ads -- and slumps in odd-numbered years.
The newspaper industry is wrestling with steadily declining circulation, increased costs and a flat advertising market. At the same time, corporate owners are pressuring newspapers to continue making double-digit profit margins, and several have answered by slashing jobs.
Last month, the Times Co. said it would cut 500 jobs across the company in the next five to eight months, in addition to the 200 jobs it cut earlier in the year.
The company will continue to slice costs, executives said in yesterday's earnings call. "We are also eliminating activities that no longer support growth," said Leonard P. Forman, the chief financial offer.
Some of those activities apparently include those of the Globe's national staff.
The position of the paper's national editor, Kenneth Cooper, and one assistant editor will be eliminated, and national reporters based in Boston and New York will be offered jobs in the paper's other sections. The Globe's Washington bureau, which has 11 writers and editors, has not been affected by that change, bureau chief Peter Canellos said. He will continue to direct the paper's national coverage from Washington.
In the current round, the Globe newsroom is expected to cut 35 jobs. Management is offering buyouts to employees with more than seven years of experience. The deadline for accepting a buyout is Nov. 22, and some employees have expressed concern that if fewer than 35 employees take buyouts, the remainder of the cuts will be made up through layoffs.