City Desk

Washington Times Layoffs: How They Went Down

Here's how the Washington Times handled the layoffs of many newsroom staffers today. The account comes from a source at the paper.

Management sent around an e-mail around mid-afternoon informing everyone of a mandatory staff meeting in the auditorium. Acting Publisher Jonathan Slevin addressed the people who assembled, spewing standard lines about how it's such a hard thing to lay people off.

Then came the HR honcho, Sonya Jenkins. She said that there are a bunch of layoffs going down. Some people would be retained; others wouldn't. People would be notified at the end of the meeting with a letter.

And so the individuals hustled with great dread to a couple of tables where lots of letters were waiting. People walked away carrying word of their fate. Those that are getting laid off are being asked to finish up their shift tomorrow and then depart. The letters come with a list of open positions at the paper, just in case the departed want to try their luck with a different department.

So that's how it went.

But one thing: Why lay off a bunch of people when a bunch of people are out of the office on holiday vacations? Is the paper going to raise those individuals on their cell phones and say, Hey, come back from Vail and pick up your letter to find out whether you've been sacked or saved?

Classic Washington Times management.

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