- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Washington Times announced newsroom layoffs Wednesday as part of a plan outlined in early December to more effectively publish vital information and insight for readers. The most recent changes include the introduction of a refocused print edition and the first of several newsroom appointments.

Acting Washington Times President and Publisher Jonathan Slevin addressed a gathering of Washington Times staff and congratulated employees on their “sense of mission” and “passion for journalism.”

The newsroom layoffs follow a company plan that is resulting in the dismissal of more than 40 percent of The Washington Times employees. Friday is the last workday for most of the newsroom employees who were told they are not being retained. Mr. Slevin acknowledged the “pain” involved with the cutting of jobs necessary to accommodate a more focused news and opinion product.

“Our market-based, forward-looking plan is both a response to the recessionary economy, continued downward financial pressures on the news industry and our transition into a 21st century multimedia enterprise,” Mr. Slevin said in a press release.

Effective Monday, a new local print edition will focus on the core strengths of The Washington Times for local, national and international audiences with an emphasis on investigative reporting and coverage of national politics, geopolitics, international and domestic business and economics, and cultural issues. The new print edition will also include national news, sports features and in-depth local reporting.

The announced newsroom leadership and management positions include: Christopher Dolan, national politics editor; Jerry Seper, investigative editor; Victor Morton, news editor; and John Bourantas, night editor.

Other newsroom positions yet to be announced are editor, geopolitics editor, international business editor, digital projects director and and news director.

Brett Decker, managing editor, editorial and commentary pages, was promoted to editorial page editor.

Managing Editor-Digital Jeff Birnbaum has resigned his management position and will continue as a Washington Times columnist covering Washington policy and politics.

“By implementing our strategy, we are making the organizational changes required to ensure that The Washington Times continues to grow as a vital news organization today and into the future,” said Mr. Slevin. “The Washington Times was built with the contributions of many talented individuals, some of whom will now be missed as the organization continues to evolve.”