Wall Street Journal employees worldwide get buyout offers as newspaper trade gets squeezed

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 October, 2016, 5:09am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 October, 2016, 5:09am

News Corp.’s Dow Jones unit is offering buyouts to Wall Street Journal employees around the world as it looks to cut costs in the face of declining advertising revenue.

The financial newspaper, owned by billionaire Rupert Murdoch, has begun an extensive review of its operations, Gerard Baker, the Journal’s editor-in-chief, said in a memo to staff obtained by Bloomberg.

“In order to limit the number of involuntary layoffs, we will be offering all news employees around the world -- management and non-management -- the option to elect to take an enhanced voluntary severance benefit,” Baker said.

The newspaper wants a “substantial number” of employees to take the buyout and reserves the right to reject volunteers based on business considerations, Baker said. Employees have until October 31 to volunteer.

Newspapers are looking to reduce their headcounts to adapt to the changing media landscape. More readers are getting news online, causing once-lucrative print advertising dollars to shrink. In May, the New York Times offered buyouts to newsroom staffers and employees in its business departments, without ruling out the possibility of firings.

The future of sustaining a newspaper on advertising looks bleak. Newspaper advertising revenue is expected to shrink to US$5 billion by 2019 from a peak of $49 billion in 2005, according to the ad agency Magna Global.