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Time Inc. Asks Staffers at Larger Titles to Take Buyouts

Editors at People, Sports Illustrated, Time, Fortune and Money asked some staffers to take buyout packages.

Sports Illustrated Cover

Sports Illustrated Cover

Photo By Courtesy Photo

Monday morning marked the beginning of the end for some Time Inc. staffers. As expected by most within the publisher’s Midtown headquarters, Time Inc. asked some 100 editorial employees at its Newspaper Guild-covered magazines — People, Sports Illustrated, Time, Fortune and Money — to accept buyout packages. Employees have two weeks to inform management of their decisions. The company also announced 92 layoffs in its consumer marketing and sales division, as it centralized the division’s responsibilities in New York while expanding its reach to include more marketing and operations and oversight of profit and loss. It also appointed executives to manage several titles’ consumer efforts at once. The cuts are part of the restructuring that Time Inc. unveiled two weeks ago, under which 600 jobs, or 6 percent of its workforce, will be shed. The move will result in a cost savings of $150 million at the publishing unit.

The largest attrition will be felt at Sports Illustrated. Managing editor Terry McDonnell said in a memo that about 40 Guild and non-Guild edit employees, including a combination of reporters, writer-reporters, researchers and designers, need to be cut from the roster at SI, Golf, SI Kids and their Web sites. People is looking for 18 staffers to leave, including four people at both its New York and Los Angeles bureaus, and employees in the art and photo departments, news bureaus and some copy editors. The magazine also looked for some staffers to work a four-day work week for additional cost savings.

Time managing editor Rick Stengel asked for 20 volunteers at that title, across positions including staff correspondents, writer-reporters and researchers. Both Fortune and Money also asked for volunteers. Although some estimate Fortune is asking for about 10 people to take buyouts, insiders believe the cuts at Money could be much less. The personal finance title, which just named Craig Matters as its new managing editor on Friday, has a significantly smaller staff than Fortune and trimmed editorial positions through buyout offers over the past several years.

If in the next two weeks magazines don’t reach their target number of volunteers, titles would start involuntary layoffs around Dec. 1. It is not yet clear whether cuts will also occur at Time Inc. non-Guild-protected magazines In Style, Entertainment Weekly, Real Simple and Essence, but insiders are expecting that those titles will be affected. And since the nearly 200 positions are just a third of the 600 to be eliminated, some characterized Monday’s move as the “first wave” of cuts, with more to hit the editorial and business sides in coming weeks.
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