New York Times employees walked out of the newspaper’s office in Manhattan on Thursday to protest layoffs expected to hit the copy desk, holding signs and chanting.
“They say cutbacks, we say fight back!” and “No editors, no peace!” they chanted, according to local news reports.
Some held signs, including one that read, “Who do you think makes sure it’s fit to print?” Others read, “We kneed are editors! They make us look smart!” and “Copy editors save our buts,” and “This sign wsa not edited.”
Times employees allege that the decision to cut copy desk staffers, which they say are the last-line of defense against mistakes and factual errors, would compromise the integrity of the newspaper.
“There’s a right way to do this and a wrong way,” said Christoph Fuhrmans, who is a senior staff editor at the sports department, Fox News reported. “It was done very quickly. This was done in a vacuum.”
It comes as New York Times staff sent a letter to the firm’s top editors to protest cuts to the newsroom, namely editors, decrying the alleged lack of transparency in how it was meted out.
“Dear Dean and Joe,” the letter to Executive Editor Dean Baquet and Managing Editor Joe Kahn reads. “We write to you as the saved — those whose copy, facts and sometimes the intelligibility of a sentence or two have been hammered into shape by our friends and colleagues on the editing desks.
“Our editors ask smart questions, engage passionately with our copy, and serve as our safety nets. Editors — and yes, that especially means copy editors — save reporters and The Times every day from countless errors, large and small.”
In the letter, it’s said that the editors feel like they’re more respected by the Times’ readers than by management.
“And that is why it feels like such a profound waste that morale is low throughout the newsroom, and that many of us, from editors to reporters to photo editors to support staff, are angry, embittered and scared of losing our jobs,” the letter reads, according to Poynter, which obtained it.
According to MarketWatch, the Times said print ad revenue fell by 18 percent in the first quarter, while digital revenue increased by 19 percent.