I received multiple tips late Thursday about layoffs at the New York Times, including this report:
More than 50 people were laid off on the corporate side. The layoffs include George Freeman, one of their well-known in-house lawyers. The worry is this is just the begginning of cuts — and that the company is putting pressure on the unions. Several of the people who were laid off were minorities, including African Americans and Hispanics.
Another tipster says of Freeman: He was “one of the two go-to guys on news-department legal matters, from story vetting to fighting First Amendment cases. The entire legal floor is in shock. Reportedly, nobody had advance inkling. (Don’t know if George did or not).”
I have emailed Freeman — he was Times Co. assistant general counsel — for comment. (UPDATE: He says he’s “saddened and shocked” by the Times’ decision to lay him off.)
I asked the Times about the layoffs and got this confirmation from corporate communications senior vice president Robert Christie:
Yes, there were non-newsroom layoffs announced Wednesday in corporate and business-side positions and this was to adjust to the changing business environment and maintain our financial health.
In a follow-up email, I asked about the number and the Freeman report. “I won’t confirm anyone by name but the 50 positions, not employees number is correct,” said Christie.