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VIDEO: Washington Post staffers shouted at the CEO after he announced layoffs but refused to say who will get the boot

the washington post

SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

  • A video shows Washington Post staffers shouting at the company’s CEO at a town hall meeting.
  • Fred Ryan said more layoffs would happen early next year and left without answering questions.
  • Last month, 11 staffers were laid off, including 10 from the magazine and a dance critic.

A video posted on Twitter shows Washington Post staffers shouting at CEO Fred Ryan after he announced impending layoffs at the company’s all-employee town hall on Wednesday.

Annie Gowen, a national correspondent at The Washington Post, shared the video showing Ryan walking away as staffers asked questions after Ryan announced layoffs would come in the first quarter of next year. Gowen said the video is from a colleague, and she took it from the Washington Post Guild’s chat.

—Annie Gowen (@anniegowen) December 14, 2022

“We’re not going to turn the town hall into a grievance session for The Guild,” Ryan can be heard saying. 

Another staffer asks Ryan what he will do “to protect people’s jobs,” and if laid-off employees “are going to be treated like the magazine staffers were.”

Ryan replied that the company will have more information as it moves forward, then left amid other staffers’ questions.

Last month, 10 staffers from the Post’s Sunday Magazine were laid off after the company decided to stop publishing it. The paper also laid off Pulitzer Prize-winning dance critic Sarah Kaufman. The staffers were not offered other roles at the Post.

At the town hall, Ryan said job cuts will probably be in the “single-digit percentage.” He also said The Post would add new jobs to replace the eliminated positions that were “no longer serving readers.”

Ryan did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

In an email to staff after the meeting, Ryan said the layoffs “in no way signals that we are scaling back our ambitions,” but that “The Post cannot keep investing resources in initiatives that do not meet our customers’ needs.”

Dylan Byers wrote in his In The Room newsletter for Puck, that he was told The Post’s union is drafting a letter of no confidence in Ryan, and hundreds of employees are expected to sign it. Byers also wrote that rhe Post has been losing subscribers and ad revenue since President Trump lost a second term and executive editor Marty Baron retired. 

Ryan’s comments in the town hall could have been restricted by typical protocols regarding communications outside of a formal meeting with union representatives. 

The Washington Post Guild did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment ahead of publication.

“The Washington Post is evolving and transforming to put our business in the best position for future growth,” Kathy Baird, chief communications officer at The Washington Post, said in a statement on Tuesday. “We are planning to direct our resources and invest in coverage, products, and people in service of providing high value to our subscribers and new audiences. As a result, a number of positions will be eliminated. We anticipate it will be a single digit percentage of our employee base, and we will finalize those plans over the coming weeks. This will not be a net reduction in Post headcount.” 

Baird added that the company will continue investing in 2023. 

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