The New York Times Co said on Wednesday it was offering buyouts to its newsroom employees to streamline production systems and reduce the number of editors.

The newspaper said it would eliminate the in-house watchdog position of public editor as it shifts its focus to reader comments.

The latest round of buyouts will be mostly offered to editors, as the company seeks to shift the balance of editors to reporters, according to an internal memo that was filed with regulators from Dean Baquet, executive editor, and Joe Kahn, managing editor.

“If we do not get enough takers to fund our ambitious plans to reduce the editing staff and hire more reporters, we will unfortunately have to turn to layoffs,” the company said in a memo to employees. 

The newspaper publisher said it expected to take a charge of US$17 million-$23 million related to the workforce reductions, with about US$17 million to be recorded in the second quarter.

Liz Spayd, the current public editor, will leave the paper on Friday, according to a memo from publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr, which was reviewed by Reuters.

The New York Times is opening up the majority if its articles to comments from readers, up from 10 per cent currently, according to the memo.

“Today, our followers on social media and our readers across the internet have come together to collectively serve as a modern watchdog, more vigilant and forceful than one person could ever be,” Sulzberger wrote in the memo. “Our responsibility is to empower all of those watchdogs, and to listen to them, gather than to channel their voice through a single office.”

© Thomson Reuters 2017