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24 Jan, 2024 15:14

Leading US newspaper announces major layoffs

The Los Angeles Times will fire at least 115 journalists amid heavy financial losses
Leading US newspaper announces major layoffs

The Los Angeles Times announced on Tuesday that it would lay off at least 155 employees, or a fifth of its newsroom staff. According to its owner, the paper has been losing up to $40 million per year.

The latest round of layoffs is among the most severe in the newspaper’s 142-year history, and comes after 74 newsroom staff were sacked in July. The Los Angeles Times Guild, a trade union representing the paper’s journalists, said that 94 of its members were among those let go.

The union said that it pushed the paper’s owner, Patrick Soon-Shiong, into agreeing to voluntary buyouts instead of layoffs, but that he refused. 

However, in an article announcing the layoffs, Soon-Shiong said that the union soured negotiations by choosing to go on strike last week and refusing a buyout deal that would save all but the most senior staff from being sacked. 

Soon-Shiong and his family purchased the ailing newspaper in 2018 and managed to reverse more than a decade of losses and headcount reductions. However, advertising revenue was falling across the entire media industry, and ever since the Covid-19 pandemic, the LA Times had been running up losses of between $30 million and $40 million per year, he said.

Soon-Shiong partially blamed the paper’s editors for the dire financial straits, claiming that their decision to stop printing sports scores last summer led to thousands of readers canceling their subscriptions. 

The LA Times is not the only major media company to slash its workforce in recent months. ABC News, Buzzfeed, CNN, Conde Nast, NBC News, and the Washington Post have all cut staff members over the last year, with more than 2,600 jobs lost in the news industry in 2023. Across the broader media sector, 20,342 jobs were cut over the same period, according to a recent report

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