Earlier this month The New York Times announced an ambitious plan to boost its digital presence, creating at least 35 jobs in London and spending US$50 million on the new drive. Overnight the other shoe fell as the paper revealed plans to close its long-time editing and pre-press hub in Paris for the paper’s international edition (formerly the International Herald Tribune) and relocating those to London.

The decision was driven in part by restrictive French employment laws. As a result, up to 70 jobs (out of 254 employees on the international edition) will be lost in Paris as the paper ends a major presence in the French capital, which it has had since 1967, when it bought a half-stake in the International Herald Tribune. The Times jointly owned the IHT with the Washington Post before taking full ownership in 2003, renaming it the International New York Times in 2013.

The decision to move editing and pre-press print production to New York and Hong Kong is part of sweeping plans to redesign the international edition “to make it better, more relevant and crucially, more economically sustainable in an increasingly digital world,” the Times leadership wrote in a memo to staff overnight. These changes will include the top-to-bottom redesign of the paper.

The move is expected to cost US$15 million, including US$13 million related to relocation and severance payments and US$2 million of lease impairment and other contract-related charges, the company said in a short filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

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The move is the latest part of a wide-ranging review of the paper’s newsroom strategy as it braces for continuing declines in its print business. It has warned that the restructuring could include further job cuts. The Times has set a goal of doubling digital revenue to US$800 million by 2020 and, earlier this month, said it would invest US$50 million over the next three years to expand its international digital readership and sales.

As a Crikey subscriber and someone who began working as a journalist in 1957, I am passionate about the importance of independent media like Crikey. I met a lot of Australians from many walks of life during my career and did my best to share their stories honestly and fairly with their fellow citizens.

And I never forgot how important it is to hold politicians to account. Crikey does that – something that is more important now than ever before in Australia.

Liz
North Stradbroke Island, QLD

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