'Seismic' Layoffs Rock Los Angeles Times

Young journalists of color disproportionately affected
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2024 1:30 AM CST
Los Angeles Times Cuts Newsroom Staff by 20%
The Los Angeles Times newspaper headquarters is located in El Segundo, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

The Los Angeles Times carried out mass layoffs this week, reducing its newsroom staff by more than 20%. The Guardian reports 115 journalists lost their jobs; the president of the guild that represents the newspaper's unionized members says 94 members lost their jobs, and that while the number is "devastating," it's actually "far lower" than what was expected last week. The union staged a walkout Friday in an effort to persuade the paper's owner to reconsider the staff reduction. The Times had already terminated 74 employees in July, KTLA reports, citing the union.

The layoffs come as the paper continues to struggle financially; declining subscriptions and loss of advertising revenue are to blame for it losing $30 million to $40 million per year, according to its billionaire owner, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, who is cited in this Times article about the layoffs. Young journalists of color were disproportionately affected by the layoffs, and NBC News reports that the "seismic" layoffs completely gutted De Los, the vertical launched just last year to cover the 49% of LA's population that is Latino. Among the other issues being raised with the layoffs was the fact that staffers were reportedly notified in a Zoom meeting with human resources in which the chat function was disabled and there was no opportunity for questions. (More Los Angeles Times stories.)

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