February 23, 2024
Headquarters of the Los Angeles Occasions in El Segundo. Picture by way of @politico X

4 days after Los Angeles Occasions journalists held the primary newsroom union work stoppage within the paper’s 142-year historical past, the paper’s management Tuesday introduced plans to put off not less than 115 folks, or greater than 20% of the newsroom employees.

In feedback reported by The Occasions, proprietor Dr. Patrick Quickly-Shiong mentioned the paper may not endure annual losses of $30 million to $40 million a 12 months, and drastic adjustments are wanted.

“As we speak’s resolution is painful for all, however it’s crucial that we act urgently and take steps to construct a sustainable and thriving paper for the subsequent technology. We’re dedicated to doing so,” Quickly-Shiong mentioned.

The layoffs had been met with fast condemnation by affected staffers and members of the Los Angeles Occasions Guild, the union representing the paper’s newsroom staff.

“I’m devastated,” one laid-off employee wrote on X, previously Twitter. “It was at all times a dream to make it to the hometown paper. It was an honor whereas it lasted.”

One other wrote, “The journalism grim reaper has arrived at my door and what as soon as was a dream is now a nightmare.”

Matt Pearce, president of Media Guild of the West, which encompasses the Los Angeles Occasions Guild, wrote that the layoffs have an effect on about one-fourth of its membership. He famous that “whereas devastating,” the quantity is “nonetheless far decrease than the overall variety of guild layoffs initially anticipated final week.”

The layoffs comply with the departure earlier this month of Govt Editor Kevin Merida, who instructed The Occasions he left over disagreements with Quickly-Shiong over his function and newsroom technique. Managing Editor Sara Yasin resigned Monday, following the sooner departure of fellow Managing Editor Shani O. Hilton — representing half of the four-person staff that was overseeing the newsroom following Merida’s departure.

Tuesday’s layoffs comply with the elimination final summer season of greater than 70 newsroom positions at The Occasions.

Quickly-Shiong insisted, nonetheless, that the paper was not in a state of turmoil, saying “We have now an actual plan.”

“It’s certainly troublesome to replicate upon the current tumultuous years, throughout which our enterprise confronted vital challenges, together with losses that surpassed $100 million in operational and capital bills,” Quickly-Shiong mentioned in remarks reported by The Occasions. “Regardless of these difficulties, we made a deliberate resolution to abstain from implementing layoffs inside our newsroom through the COVID pandemic, sustaining the newsroom headcount all through till the final a number of months regardless of the losses.”

“For the reason that acquisition of the Los Angeles Occasions, we have now invested virtually a billion {dollars}, underscoring our dedication to preserving its legacy and securing its future,” he mentioned.

Layoffs have turn into an all-too-common incidence in newsrooms throughout the nation, with media corporations struggling to deal with dwindling revenues and difficult enterprise environments. In line with CNN, information shops throughout the nation minimize almost 2,700 jobs in 2023 alone, the biggest quantity within the business for the reason that begin of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the many publications affected just lately have been The Washington Submit, which introduced plans final 12 months to chop 240 jobs by way of buyouts, following the sooner elimination of almost two dozen positions. Extra just lately, Sports activities Illustrated despatched layoff notices to just about its total employees, leaving the way forward for the venerable publication doubtful.