Washington Post begins laying off workers days after Jeff Bezos visit

The Washington Post began laying off employees on Tuesday as the Jeff Bezos-owned broadsheet suffers a drop in ad revenue and readership, the paper said.

The company is set to lay off 20 journalists and not fill 30 other vacancies, bringing sighs of relief to employees at the venerable newspaper who feared more bloodshed.

The elimination of the 2,500 employees comes weeks after publisher Fred Ryan announced the impending layoffs. Ryan promised on Tuesday that the newspaper’s head count would remain the same or higher by the end of 2023, the outlet reported.

The Washington Post Guild, the union representing the employees, blasted the layoffs.

“We believe that any job cuts at this time – at a time of continued growth and expansion – are unacceptable,” the guild wrote in a message to its members.

Along with the layoffs, the company will remove dedicated coverage on its website focusing on video games, esports and the kid-focused KidsPost, sources told The Daily Beast.

Since Bezos bought The Washington Post in 2013 for $250 million, the newspaper has made a profit every year. But the subscription boom the paper enjoyed during the Trump years has faded and revenues have plummeted in 2021, according to The New York Times.

The layoffs come days after the paper’s owner, Jeff Bezos, visited the newsroom.
Getty Images

Bezos made a rare visit to the newsroom last week to meet top editors amid growing speculation – first reported by the New York Post – that the Amazon founder is seeking to pave the way for a buyout of the NFL’s Washington Commanders by selling the Washington Post.

When Bezos appeared at the newspaper’s offices, guild members accosted him and demanded answers about reports of impending layoffs.

Bezos sat next to beleaguered editor Sally Buzbee at the meeting, which was attended by employees in person as well as those logging in on Zoom.

“I’m thrilled to be here and see all these faces,” Bezos reportedly said during the meeting. “Thank you for letting me listen.”

The Washington Post has struggled to generate revenue in the post-Trump era.
The Washington Post has struggled to generate revenue in the post-Trump era.
AFP via Getty Images

Ryan was also present, although he did not speak. The meeting featured the traditional recap of news presented by the newspaper’s editors.

With Bezos in the room, the editors discussed writing an article about Amazon’s decision to shut down its in-house charity program, AmazonSmile, which was founded by Bezos himself, according to The New York Times.

The Washington Post editors also reported on the ongoing talks surrounding the sale of the Commanders – a team that Bezos is believed to have his eye on.

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