In a move that has become all too familiar, The New York Times announced Wednesday it will lay off 100 newsroom staff and shutter the NYT Opinion app due to a lack of subscribers–a sign the paper of record’s plan to increase revenue through app subscriptions, led by former executive editor Jill Abramson who was ousted in May, has not paid off.
While it’s clear the Times realizes it needs to compete with innovative (and free) news apps–including Circa, Flipboard, and BuzzFeed’s app looming on the horizon–the question remains: Can the Gray Lady continue its legacy of groundbreaking, insightful journalism and conquer the digital world, all while staying in the black?
The layoffs will affect the newsroom as well as some editorial and business positions. In a message to Times staff obtained by Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone, executive editor Dean Baquet said its new apps were “not achieving the business success we expected.”
NYT Opinion app was one of many apps launched by the Times in the past six months. For $6 a month, readers could subscribe to opinion stories from the newspaper as well as curated columns from other publications, but the app was not generating enough revenue. NYT Now, a pared-down version of the full app aimed at younger users, is struggling as well, though it will continue to operate.
CNN’s Brian Stelter, a former Times media reporter summed up the story well in a tweet: