The Los Angeles Times is cutting its newsroom staff, becoming the latest news organization to contract amid economic pressures brought on by advertising and print readership declines.
The Times is eliminating 74 positions in the newsroom, representing about 13% of the total.
Full-time and temporary workers will be let go, including a handful of managers. Reporting positions are expected to be spared but support staff will be trimmed, including editors on the news and copy desks as well as the audience engagement team. Some audio producers will also be cut.
Times Executive Editor Kevin Merida announced the layoffs Wednesday in a note to the newsroom, saying the decision was made more urgent by the economic climate and the unique challenges of our industry.
Decisions that result in talented staffers losing their jobs are agonizing, Merida wrote. We will be saying goodbye to some tremendous colleagues.
The restructuring represents the first significant belt tightening since Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong and his wife Michele acquired the paper five years ago from Tribune Publishing, a company that no longer exists. Since then, The Times newsroom has been largely protected from massive layoffs that have hobbled many other news outlets.
Under Soon-Shiong, the newsroom added more than 150 journalists and it was making strong gains in revenue by early 2020. But the COVID-19 pandemic derailed the papers path to profitability as pandemic closures obliterated the papers advertising.
Since then, The Times has struggled to recover financially amid an industry
wide slowdown in advertising sales and subscriptions.
The restructuring stems from the same persistent economic headwinds facing news media across the country, Merida wrote. Collectively, we have done a vast amount of work as a company to meet the budget and revenue challenges head on. But that work will need acceleration and we will need more radical transformation in the newsroom for us to become a self-sustaining enterprise. Our imperative is to become a modern media company more nimble, more experimental, bolder with our ambition and creativity than we are today.
The move comes just weeks after The Times celebrated two Pulitzer Prizes. The staff was honored for its coverage last fall of the Los Angeles City Hall scandal after a leaked audio recording revealed casual racist banter by three then-Council members. The Times also won for feature photography.
The Los Angeles Times is one of the greatest journalistic institutions in the country, and, frankly, in the world, Merida wrote. It sits without peer west of the Mississippi River. It is filled with phenomenal journalists the prodigiously accomplished, the promising and the rising. And we are on the brink, Im convinced, of doing something extraordinary transforming a 141-year-old newspaper into a truly next-generation digital powerhouse that serves the people of this city, and the world, in unparalleled ways.
Industrywide, news publishers have suffered as social media giants, including Facebook and Twitter, scaled back the promotion of news articles.
In the last year, the Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Vice Media,
Insider have laid off journalists. Buzzfeed News and MTV News were shut down. Tech giants, including Amazon and Google, and entertainment leaders, including Walt Disney Co., Paramount Global and Warner Bros. Discovery, have eliminated thousands of positions in the last year.
The Times has 547,461 digital subscriptions, including direct sales and third parties. Sunday print circulation stands at 583,136.