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OUT WITH THE OLD...: Housecleaning has taken a decidedly cordial tone at Tina Brown’s Newsweek. No layoffs for now, but on Wednesday the company offered voluntary buyouts to one third of the remaining old Newsweek editorial staff (about 30 of 90 legacy staffers) encompassing a dozen different job classifications. A spokesman for the magazine declined to comment on who was being targeted, but the magazine’s Web staff is a fair guess.
According to Newspaper Guild of New York president Bill O’Meara, buyout offers included a minimum of four months severance pay and a “sweetener” amount correlated with the employee’s tenure. O’Meara said the severance negotiations between the guild and representatives of Brown and owner Sidney Harman lasted a “couple of weeks” and were “very amicable,” although for some employees, the buyout offers didn’t stack up to offers from The Washington Post Co. before the sale.
“There are no plans for layoffs,” O’Meara stressed. “Nobody has a crystal ball.…We’re all obviously very much hoping that Tina Brown’s plan will have a lot of success in the future and ultimately that’s where the jobs will [come from]. “If it’s not successful,” he added, “I guess we’ll see how it goes.”
— Zeke Turner