Goodbye Globe

In the “It’s always darkest just before it’s pitch-f*&^ing black” category, the latest and most indiscriminate round of cuts at the NYT-owned Boston Globe:

The Boston Globe, grappling with the economic downturn and financial pressures affecting the newspaper industry, yesterday said it plans to cut its newsroom payroll by as many as 50 full-time jobs, a reduction of nearly 12 percent in the company’s news and editorial staff.

All of the company’s 379 full-time news employees, including those at the Boston.com website, will be offered buyouts in coming weeks. If the company can’t meet its target through voluntary departures, it said it would resort to layoffs of union and management employees.

This will be the fifth newsroom staff reduction since 2001, as the Globe, like newspapers everywhere, struggles with the migration of advertisers and readers to the Internet, consolidation of the retail industry, and a recession forecast to be the deepest in decades.

The latest buyout program differs from previous ones in several ways. It’s the first newsroom-only buyout in recent memory. It covers 350 newsroom and editorial employees and 29 news employees of Boston.com, who were exempt in the past. And, all news and editorial employees — even those with fewer than five years at the company — will be eligible to apply.

The news operation also has 54 full-time equivalent jobs held by part-timers, who aren’t eligible for the buyout but could be included in layoffs. At its peak in 2000, the Globe newsroom had 552 full-time jobs. That didn’t include Boston.com, which then was operated separately.

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