Washington Post headquarters
New York CNN  — 

The Washington Post will conduct layoffs in the coming year as it reorients itself for the future and reinvests in other areas, publisher Fred Ryan told startled staffers in a contentious town hall Wednesday, according to people familiar with the matter.

Ryan indicated to staffers that the cuts will make up a single digit percentage of the workforce, the people told CNN, adding that he does not believe the newspaper can “keep spending on initiatives that no longer align with readers’ interests.”

Ryan also said that the total size of the newsroom will not shrink in 2023 and could even grow as a result of the reinvestments in other divisions of the company.

A spokesperson for The Post told CNN that the company employs roughly 2,500 staffers, meaning that the cuts would represent fewer than 250 people.

In a statement to CNN, Kathy Baird, chief communications officer at The Post, confirmed news of the looming cuts, saying that the newspaper “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,” Baird said. “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,” Baird stressed. “Recently, we have made some of the largest investments in The Post’s history and 2023 will be another year of continued investment.”

The news of looming cuts at The Post follows the newspaper’s recent decision to eliminate the print edition of its Sunday magazine, which resulted in the layoff of a handful of staffers. It comes amid a backdrop of layoffs and cuts across the media industry.

In recent weeks, CNN laid off hundreds of staffers, newspaper chain Gannett cut 200 employees, NPR said it will need to find $10 million in savings, and other news organizations have explored the need to trim budgets and freeze hiring.

Ryan’s Wednesday town hall had been hotly anticipated in the newsroom after the decision to cut the Sunday magazine. The Washington Post Guild had challenged Ryan to answer a number of questions.

“After brutal layoffs, we want answers about WaPo’s future,” the Guild tweeted ahead of the internal event. “Democracy Dies in Darkness, right?”

Ryan, however, walked off stage as he was peppered with questions, people familiar with the matter told CNN. A video posted by Annie Gowen, a national reporter at The Post, captured the moment.

“We are not going to turn the town hall into a grievance session,” Ryan said. “I’m sorry, thank you.”

When one staffer asked for additional details about the impending layoffs, Ryan said, “We will have more information as we move forward.”

In a sharp statement, The Guild blasted Ryan’s “unceremonious announcement of layoffs at today’s so-called town hall” and his refusal to take questions.

“This behavior is unacceptable from any leader, but especially the leader of a news organization whose core values include transparency and accountability,” The Guild said.

The Guild added that it believed there was “no justification for The Post to lay off employees in a period of record growth and hiring.”

“Ryan pledged that The Post will remain ‘as large or larger’ than it is now — but it’s little consolation to those who have given years of service to this company that The Post will continue to hire even as it kicks dedicated employees out of their jobs,” The Guild said.