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Newsweek Does Dozen Layoffs — 7 Percent Of Edit Staff; Still Tough Economic Times

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Newsweek, still struggling to figure out what it needs to figure out, has done about a dozen layoffs, according to an internal memo picked up by Politico. We have confirmed the layoffs from a company spokesperson. From the memo by Jon Meacham: “Because the economic climate in publishing has become ever more difficult, we have been compelled by business considerations to eliminate about a dozen positions…I have no spin to offer…The different direction we undertook earlier this year continues to appear promising in terms of building and retaining an engaged audience.”

Newsweek, part of Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO), is reducing its circulation rate base for its U.S. edition, from 2.6 million to 1.5 million by next January. From its Q309 earnings results: Revenue for the magazine publishing division totaled $40.2 million in Q3, a 33% decrease from $60.0 million in Q308; the decline was due to a 48% and 38% reduction in advertising revenue at Newsweek for the Q309 and first nine months of 2009, respectively, resulting from fewer ad pages at both the domestic and international editions. In Q309, Newsweek recorded $2.7 million in severance costs, and it said additional costs savings initiatives will be undertaken in Q409.

David adds: Newsweek has an edit staff of about 175 individuals around the world, including contributing editors, so this is roughly a 7 percent cut. A source tells us that a good number of the layoffs came in areas that support editorial. Digital was not heavily impacted, and is down by about two.