“An uncomfortable period of uncertainty,” NPR CEO says after 10% staff cut announcement
The media company has no choice but to cut staff after seeing no signs of budget recovery in the advertising market, NPR said.
American nonprofit media organization NPR announced last week that it is cutting 10% of its workforce. The network, which employs about 1,100 people, said earlier this week that at least 100 positions would be dissolved by layoffs.
In a memo to his workforce, NPR’s CEO John Lansing said, "At a time when we are doing some of our most ambitious and essential work, the global economy remains uncertain.” He added, “As a result, the ad industry has weakened and we are grappling with a sharp decline in our revenues from corporate sponsors.”
David Folkenflik, media correspondent for NPR News, said this is the highest level of job cuts he had seen in his 18 years at the company and he believed they were the most aggressive cuts since the 1980s.
Lansing said in his memo that the company's budget shortfall for the year has grown to $30 million, and the annual budget is typically around $300 million. “With approximately 65% of our budget supporting personnel costs, we will need to eliminate many of the vacant positions that have been frozen. We will also need to reduce filled positions by approximately 10%.” He also said layoffs would not “disproportionately impact people of color or any other historically marginalized group.”
“I recognize that all of this is deeply unsettling, and I know that this introduces an uncomfortable period of uncertainty,” Lansing’s memo read, “We will move as swiftly as possible to provide clarity about the reductions needed, working in consultation with our unions.”
Lansing hoped to have final decisions on job cuts by the week of March 20.
NPR is not the only media company in the past year with mass layoffs. According to NPR, “Vox Media cut jobs by 7%; Gannett and Spotify by 6%. The Washington Post, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, eliminated its Sunday magazine and a handful of other jobs. After becoming part of Warner Bros. Discovery, CNN cut hundreds of jobs and killed off its brand-new streaming service, CNN+.”