Magazine Publisher Time Is Axing Nearly 300 Jobs

Time is eliminating nearly 300 jobs as it continues to revamp its huge portfolio of magazines such as Time, People and Sports Illustrated in an effort to adapt as readers and advertisers move to the Internet.

The giant magazine publisher, which is part of the media conglomerate Time Warner , announced to its staff Thursday that it was eliminating 289 jobs in various departments across the company, which publishes about 150 magazines.

The cuts, which had been widely expected, would bring Time's payroll down to about 11,000, Time spokeswoman Dawn Brides said. By division, 172 cuts would be from the editorial side of the magazines, while 117 cuts would come from the business side.

Time's flagship magazine, Time, will close its bureaus in Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles as part of the cuts, although three correspondents will remain in Los Angeles and work from their homes. Time magazine spokeswoman Ali Zelenko said executives had asked for up to 31 volunteers for buyouts among union-covered personnel, but she declined to give a total number of job eliminations at the magazine.

"It's horrendous," said Barry Lipton, president of the Newspaper Guild of New York, which represents about 400 people at Time. "It will forever change the character of Time and the quality of publications they will continue to put out."

Like other magazine publishers, Time is trying to cope with rapid changes in consumer reading habits and advertising spending as more people get news and information online and have less time for traditional media.

For the nine-month period ending last September, Time's profits fell 5.9% as revenues edged down 0.6%, compared with the same period a year earlier.

Last year the magazine publisher closed the print version of Teen People but kept the associated Web site going, and this year Time magazine moved its publication date from Monday to Friday and also redesigned its Web site in hopes of better meshing its print and online editions.

In a memo to employees, Ann Moore, the chief executive of Time, said the layoffs were "part of a restructuring necessary to sustain our progress."

Moore said Time had made headway online, developing many of its Web sites into "strong and popular brand vehicles, while others are relaunching new designs with fresher content," but she also said: "progress brings change and we need to continue to evolve to meet the cost pressures and challenges presented by our rapidly-shifting industry."

Time is also taking broader steps to restructure its business. It has already sold off a book publishing division and is currently seeking buyers for 18 of its smaller titles, including Field & Stream, Parenting and Popular Science.

Bridges said that the sale process, which was first announced last fall, was making headway and the company expected to have news "shortly" on the magazine sales, but she declined to elaborate. That division employs about 530 people, she said.