Joe Sexton, The New York Times sports editor who changed how stories are told online with Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek took a buyout. Sexton gave this advice in a New York Magazine article. The editor will now work for the nonprofit ProPublica.
The print newspaper is (or was) an awesome delivery vehicle for advertising, with the average print subscriber still consuming ~$450 worth of advertising per year.
The digital newspaper is a comparatively lousy delivery vehicle for advertising, with the average print subscriber consuming only about $100 of advertising per year. (And that’s if we assume that paying subscribers consume all of the advertising on the digital site, which they obviously don’t. In fact, paying subscribers consume only a tiny fraction of the advertising on the site.)
Print subscribers are willing to pay an astounding ~$650 per year to get the paper in print and digital form (a premium of $500 for the print paper).
Digital subscribers are only willing to pay $150, at least so far.
Those are big differences.
When you put those numbers together, what you find is that the New York Times digital business cannot replace the revenue being lost in the print business, even with the paywall. So, as the print business continues to shrink, the newsroom has to shrink.