Washington Post staffers were outraged on Wednesday after Post publisher Fred Ryan refused to take questions during a town hall event for employees after announcing that some employees would soon be laid off.
Ryan reportedly announced that a “number of positions” would be terminated in early 2023 and then quickly shut down any opportunities for Post staffers to ask clarifying questions.
“We’re not going to turn the town hall into a grievance session,” Ryan told the audience, according to a video tweeted by Post reporter Annie Gowen.
NEW: @washingtonpost publisher Fred Ryan refuses to take staff questions after announcing Q1 layoffs in “Town Hall” @postguild pic.twitter.com/C4HOXb6y2C
— Annie Gowen (@anniegowen) December 14, 2022
“It’s not a grievance session, it’s questions,” one staffer reportedly responded.
“We’ll have more information as we move forward. Thank you very much,” Ryan said before turning his back and walking away from the audience. As Ryan was making his exit, one staffer reportedly accused him of “disrespecting this process.”
Shortly after Gowen uploaded the video to Twitter, Washington Post chief communications officer Kathy Baird confirmed the outlet’s plans to cut a “single-digit percentage” of its workforce,
Baird told Fox News:
The Washington Post is evolving and transforming to put our business in the best position for future growth. 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. Recently, we have made some of the largest investments in The Post’s history and 2023 will be another year of continued investment.
However, the Washington Post Guild issued a statement criticizing Ryan’s “unacceptable” refusal to answer questions about the looming layoffs.
The Washington Post Guild told Fox News:
Members of the Washington Post Guild are outraged at the unceremonious announcement of layoffs at today’s so-called town hall led by our publisher, Fred Ryan. After informing staffers that the company could eliminate up to 9 percent of positions companywide in the first quarter of next year, Ryan refused to take questions from his employees and walked out of the room. This behavior is unacceptable from any leader, but especially the leader of a news organization whose core values include transparency and accountability.
Ryan’s announcement came after the Washington Post last month announced its plans to eliminate its Sunday magazine, resulting in 10 staffers losing their jobs.
Although Baird claimed the Post has “made some of the largest investments in The Post’s history,” the outlet has been struggling to maintain its subscribers in recent years.
Since President Joe Biden took office, the Washington Post has lost around 20 percent of its subscribers. Now, the Post has around 2.5 million subscribers, down 500,000 from the three million they boasted in January 2021.
Jordan Dixon-Hamilton is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter.
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