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The Washington Post axes nearly two dozen newsrooms citing ‘business climate’

The Washington Post on Tuesday cut the jobs of nearly two dozen editorial staff, the latest in a series of cuts made by the country’s biggest media and tech companies in recent weeks.

The Post, which is owned by billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and employs hundreds of people, said 20 current newsroom positions would be eliminated and another 30 vacancies remain unfilled.

“The newsroom chiefs made these decisions after a careful and deliberate review of our current roles and vacancies. We have prioritized the elimination of job vacancies to minimize the impact on employees,” Editor-in-Chief Sally Buzbee wrote in a memo to employees Tuesday, shared with The Hill. “We are also eliminating positions currently filled that we have determined are not essential to meet our competitive requirements.”

The cuts, Buzbee wrote to her employees, are “necessary for us to remain competitive and the economic climate has guided our decision to act now.”

“We believe these steps will ultimately help us fulfill our mission of challenging power and empowering readers,” she said. “We are currently not planning any further job cuts.”

The threat of layoffs had hung over the Post office for weeks. Last month, publisher Fred Ryan was yelled at by angry employees during a community-style meeting at the outlet’s headquarters in downtown Washington, DC after he told them he expected cuts to the company’s budget.

The newspaper’s union, one of the country’s largest media outlets, called the Post’s decision “unacceptable”.

“Since City Hall, despite numerous attempts to get answers, we have not received a clear explanation as to why the redundancies are taking place,” the union said in a statement to The Hill. “As far as we can tell, these layoffs are not financially necessary, nor are they rooted in a coherent business plan by Fred Ryan, who said at the same town hall he expects the company to grow bigger in a year.”

The Post is just the latest in a string of major media companies to launch layoffs, job cuts or other cost-cutting measures amid falling advertising revenues, general news fatigue in the post-Trump media environment, and concerns about the country’s broader economic outlook.

CNN, Vox Media and NPR have all cut their budgets in recent weeks, which has impacted their editorial offices, while the Post closed its weekly Sunday magazine along with a handful of jobs in December.

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In late summer of last year, The New York Times, the Post’s main competitor, detailed the branch’s struggles with digital subscriptions and revenue over the past few months.

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