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Friday, June 02, 2006

Washington Post Says About 170 Employees Take Buyouts

06-01-06 02:17 PM EST

WASHINGTON (AP)--About 70 reporters, editors, photographers and newsroom administrators have taken early retirement offers from Washington Post Co. (WPO) amid declining circulation at its flagship newspaper.

About 100 employees outside the newsroom, such as those in the Washington Post's pressrooms or on the advertising staff, also took the offer, the company announced in Thursday's editions.
Staffers age 54 and older with 10 years of service were eligible to receive up to two years of full-time pay and benefits in exchange for leaving the newspaper before retirement age. Many have left The Post or will exit this week; others will stay on for a few months.

The deadline for taking the early-retirement offer was Tuesday, but those who took it have a week to change their minds.

Circulation at the Washington Post and most daily newspapers has decreased in recent years as readers turn to television and the Internet for news.

Daily circulation at the Post peaked at 832,232 in 1993. The Post's daily circulation for the first three months of this year averaged 690,700, the company reported last month.

"Our newsroom has grown a lot over a number of years, in both size of staff and other expenses," said Post executive editor Leonard Downie Jr. "And as circulation has declined some and advertising revenue has leveled off at the moment, and we continue to have to pay higher costs for travel and those sorts of things and continue to give raises to members of our staff, we had to find some way to reduce the overall size of the newsroom."

Several other newspapers are using buyouts or layoffs to cut costs.

The New York Times Co. (NYT) is cutting 700 company-wide jobs. Tribune Co. ( TRB), which publishes 11 newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, said last week that it would use layoffs to cut costs. Last year, Tribune newspapers eliminated 185 positions through buyouts and layoffs.

This is the Post's second round of buyouts in the past three years, the newspaper reported.
In 2003, 54 staff members age 55 and older took the offer, but many were offered contracts to work part of the year without benefits. The age was lowered to 54 this time, and fewer contracts were offered.

Dow Jones Newswires

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