Los Angeles Times to lay off ‘significant’ number of employees, union says

LA Times Guild announces one-day walk-out to protest planned layoffs.

la times
The LA Times Guild has announced a one-day walk-out to protest planned layoffs at the newspaper [File: Patrick T Fallon/AFP]

The Los Angeles Times is planning to lay off a “significant” number of journalists, the newspaper’s union has said, becoming the latest media outlet to shed employees in an era of collapsing advertising revenues.

The LA Times Guild said that it would organise a one-day walk-out on Friday to oppose the planned layoffs.

“The management of the Los Angeles Times has announced that it intends to imminently lay off a significant number of journalists, and is asking the Guild to gut seniority protections in our union contract so they have vastly more freedom to pick whom to lay off,” the guild said in a statement on Thursday.

“This will greatly damage our ability to provide the accountability journalism so important to Southern California.”

While the newspaper’s management has not announced the number of planned layoffs, the jobs will affect “at least” 100 journalists, or about 20 percent of the newsroom, the LA Times reported on Thursday, citing “knowledgeable people”.

The cuts follow the scrapping of 74 newsroom positions in June.

Last week, the newspaper’s executive editor, Kevin Merida, announced that he was stepping down after two-and-a-half years in the role following “considerable soul-searching about my career”.

Media organisations have been haemorrhaging employees as they struggle to find a viable business model in the digital age.

In October, the Washington Post announced it would offer voluntary buyouts to its staff to reduce headcount by 240 after subscription, traffic and advertising numbers fell short of protections.

The US media industry announced 17,436 job cuts in the year leading up to June 1, 2023, the highest number of losses on record, according to a report by Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The total number of newsroom employees in the United States fell from 114,000 to 85,000 between 2008 and 2020, according to the Pew Research Center.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies