Today is the deadline for New York Times staffers to apply for an above-normal buyout offer from the paper, which is looking to eliminate 100 positions in its latest cost-saving measure. Carter, who joined NYT as television reporter in 1989 after serving as TV critic at the Baltimore Sun, is among those taking the deal. He replaced the legendary Peter Boyer, who left in a wave of staff defections from the paper in the late 1980s.
Carter made a name for himself at the NYT covering the late-night wars; his 1994 book The Late Shift tracked the post-Johnny Carson years that resulted in a slow-motion showdown between David Letterman and Jay Leno. Carter followed that up in 2011 with The War For Late Night, exposing the raw nerves and mountains of money wasted in the disastrous game of musical chairs NBC played with Leno and Conan O’Brien and Leno redux.
The buyout includes three weeks’ pay for every year served plus a 35% bonus for those who were at the Times for more than 20 years. Capital New York, which has tracked the folks taking the offer, has reported that chief financial columnist Floyd Norris, veteran cultural and metro correspondent Joseph Berger, reporter-turned-editor-turned-editorial-board-member David Firestone, as well as four more culture staff members, have so far taken the goodies.
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