LA Times Cuts 250 Jobs; 150 Cuts in Editorial Include Online

The most troubled big newspaper in U.S. is cutting off 250 jobs, including an unprecedented 150 positions in editorial, to bring its expenses down in line with declining revenues.The Los Angeles Times newspaper will also reduce the number of pages it publishes each week by 15 percent, it announced on a slow Wednesday prior to July 4th holiday week. These cuts will be across all departments of The Times, including circulation, marketing and advertising; the company will have about 3,000 employees after the reductions.

This is among the biggest such cuts announced by any major market U.S. newspaper in recent history. The editorial cuts amount to roughly 17 percent of the 876 the company employs now, will be spread between the print newsroom and The Times’ online operations and are to be completed by Labor Day.

Times Editor Russ Stanton explained the paradox in a staff memo: “Thanks to the Internet, we have more readers for our great journalism than at any time in our history. But also thanks to the Internet, our advertisers have more choices, and we have less money.” Also thanks to the Internet, the luxury of monopoly is gone too…

The cuts on the online side are a bit surprising, considering has been trying to build up its online operations with blogs, special vertical sections, search, video and other services. But the Times will be combining its print and Web staffs into a single operation with a unified budget, and that perhaps explains some of the online cuts, to do away with the redundancies. Recently the company said that expects to generate $25 million in display ad revenue this year, more than tripling the $6 million that area attracted three years ago.

From publisher David Hiller’s memo to staff, some plans for the future:
— A re-designed flagship Los Angeles Times newspaper to debut in the fall, reflecting the work of the Reinvent team, the Spring Street Project, and related efforts underway for quite some time

— A re-designed website

— A combined multimedia newsroom to produce excellent content for both

— More targeted products for new audience segments

— A re-organized sales team fired up to turn our revenue picture around

— Increased utilization of our operating strengths so we can print and distribute newspapers and other products all across SoCal

The Tribune-owned paper has seen a lot of management turmoil over the last few years, and even since Sam Zell took over the company. Announcements of hundreds of reductions were issued only last week by dailies other Tribune papers, Boston, San Jose, Detroit and elsewhere.


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