News emerged Tuesday night that the new owners of the New York Times Regional Media Group would most likely be laying off a number of employees on Thursday. This Atlantic Wire tipster made the cut. Asking us not to reveal his or her identity, the tipster sent us a copy of the surprisingly unenthusiastic offer to work for Halifax Media Holdings. "Everyone I've heard in my newsroom has received it," the tipster noted in sending along a full copy of the memo. You might have to read it twice to spot the good news:
December 29, 2011
Dear Regional Media Group Colleague,
On Tuesday, Dec. 27, you received an announcement from Michael that the Regional Media Group is being sold to Halifax Media Holdings LLC. We are pleased to inform you that Halifax has informed us that they will be offering you employment.
We are alerting you via e-mail as many people are out of the office due to the holidays and we wanted to be certain that you received this information quickly.
Should you have any questions, please speak with your publisher.
When asked what happened to those who didn't receive this email, The Atlantic Wire tipster admitted that s/he didn't know. In fact, neither of the parent companies are telling employees much of anything. "The New York Times, Halifax and management within our own paper have not exactly been what you would call a fountain of information throughout this process," the tipster said, adding that it was "much cheerier" around the newsroom since the email hit everyone's inboxes.
"This email is the totality of what I know. Everyone in my office has gotten one confirming their continued employment. In the 20 minutes or so since I received the email, I have not heard of anyone who hasn't received one in the business or news side of the paper."
Crappy communication aside, this sounds like cause for hope that the feared layoffs of NYT Regional employees may not happen. As we noted on Wednesday, all signs up until now pointed to people losing their jobs the week after Christmas, but according to our source, it's all good. It's also come to our attention that those laid off will receive one week of severance pay for every six weeks of service with a maximum of 26 weeks' pay. As for the local journalists' salaries going forward under Halifax, that remains a mystery. "We still have no information about pay or benefits in the future. In fact, we haven't heard anything from Halifax. Note that the email we got confirming our continued employment came from the NYT: 'We are pleased to inform you that Halifax has informed us…,'" the tipster said. "I find that strange."
Strange wording is better than the alternative, which inevitably begins with, "We regret to inform you…"