The Los Angeles Times has fired a total of 74 editors, or about 13% of its newsroom positions, IndieWire confirmed.
Staff members were briefed on Wednesday in a statement from Executive Director Kevin Merida, who said the decision was “made more urgent by the economic climate and our industry’s unique challenges.”
A Times rep told IndieWire this would leave around 500 staff members still on the newsroom. The layoffs come at a difficult time for the press and media, with cuts already this year at news organizations including Fox News, CNN, Vox, The Washington Post and NPR, among others. BuzzFeed News and MTV News also shut down this year.
Below is the full statement from the LA Times:
“We have made the difficult decision to undergo a reorganization and eliminate some positions within the company. The hardest decisions to make are those that impact our employees, and we don’t take this action lightly.
“The economics of running a media business have become increasingly difficult since the start of the pandemic, and this is especially true for news organizations. Over the past three years, we have continued to invest as we work to address budget and revenue challenges. At the same time, we have concentrated our resources in areas that strengthen our ability to compete, grow revenue, reach new audiences, and produce vital journalism in the public interest. We are positioning ourselves to face economic headwinds this year and beyond. Our focus remains on our long-term plans to transform the Los Angeles Times into a self-sustaining institution that will serve the community for generations to come.
“We take the public’s trust in us seriously and will continue to work hard, every day, to bring important issues to light, tell the great stories of our time, and help our readers navigate their lives.”
The LA Times Guild issued a statement to Variety saying he was “outraged” and “blinded” by the decision.
“We are outraged by management’s announcement this morning that it plans to lay off 57 guild members in various departments, or about 15% of our entire newsroom, including several guild leaders,” said Reed Johnson, president of the Guild. board of the LAT Guild Unit. “This list of targeted layoffs is not definitive. Under our contract, management is required to negotiate with the Guild about proposed layoffs. Management has also so far failed to offer acquisitions to staff as required by our contract.
The statement continued: “We were taken aback by this news. Management did not consult us in advance about other options to cut costs and save money, other than layoffs. We have been negotiating a new contract since September, and this has never been mentioned during the negotiation… The Guild is rejecting this outrageous and reckless action by management. The company must discuss alternatives to their useless and short-sighted decision.