LAT Cutting 300 Jobs, 70 In Editorial; Local News Folded Into Main Section

Tribune Company’s Los Angeles Times just keeps on cutting. On its third round of layoffs in less than six months, LAT is cutting 300 positions and putting the separate local coverage into the print daily’s main section, Publisher Eddy Hartenstein wrote in a staff memo on the LATimes’ blog (via Romenesko). About 70 newsroom jobs will be lost, representing 11 percent of the editorial staff. In a separate memo, LAT editor Russ Stanton warned: “Other departments at The Times will be undertaking similar cost-saving measures, some more painful than the ones we will experience.”

The section changes start March 2, when the paper condenses to four sections: Main News (local, national, international, opinion); Business; Sports, where classified ads, which have suffered from the same industry-wide retreat in employment and real estate spending, will move; and Calendar. The California section is disappearing, with that news folded into the front section — a decision that LA Observed’s Kevin Broderick expects to cost the paper more subscribers.

Just three months ago, LAT cut 75 posts from editorial. And before that, in July, 250 jobs were slashed at the whole newspaper. Nearly a year ago, not long after Sam Zell took over as chairman of The Tribune Company, LAT lost between 100 and 150 staffers, meaning that with today’s announcement, the paper’s workforce has been reduced by over 700 staffers since February 2008.

Digital unaffected: Rob Barrett, VP and GM of interactive/, told our Staci D. Kramer, when asked if the online side would be impacted: “Short answer is this doesn’t affect digital staff. It does signify a trend toward decoupling topical coverage from physical print sections, which in turn will help the full staff power digital content and community efforts.”