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250 jobs to be cut companywide, publisher says

Publisher David Hiller's announcement to staff follows the editor's memo to the newsroom posted previously (also, here's a related news story in the Times):

Last week I talked about the actions we must take to build a viable, sustainable Los Angeles Times Media Group.

A necessary, but painful, part of fixing our business for the future is getting costs in line with revenues.  Russ Stanton announced today (memo below) that we are eliminating approximately 150 positions from the newsroom.  In total, we are eliminating approximately 250 positions company-wide, with most business-side reductions having already taken place.  Similar efforts have been undertaken all across the newspaper industry and other areas, including many of our customers in auto, real estate, banking, travel, and retail who have also had to cut their own employees — and their advertising with us.

As hard as it is to keep all this change in perspective, it is critical that we think about it in terms of the future.  We must build the next generation of journalism and media and not preside over the decline of an old business model.  How we think about the future, and communicate this to our customers will make all the difference. 

As we move forward, our plans include:

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 latimes.com 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

We also need to remember that even with staff reductions, we have extraordinary and passionate people, great brands that readers and users trust, and advertising partners who want us to succeed because that is how they succeed.

Thank you for all that you do.  And as we say goodbye to some of our colleagues, please join me in remembering and thanking them for helping build this great place.

 
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Comments (7)

I am a loyal reader and subscriber of the LA Times, but I live inland in Palm Springs. If the quality of the paper deteriorates, I might as well drop it and subscribe to the NY Times.

So sad to watch the demise of such a great paper. There are few sources left of indepth reporting.

Dear Sam Zell:

Please sell the LA Times to someone who cares about journalism and/or the quality of life in Los Angeles. It is clear that you view this once grand newspaper only as a source of ongoing capital, whose sole purpose is to provide a flow of money that you can slowly squeeze dry until it is dead.

I note that David Hiller's statement regarding cuts at the LA Times used the clever, albeit disingenuous, euphemism of "getting costs in line with revenues." It is telling that Mr. Hiller does not say that the LA Times is not making money, nor does he say that the LA Times suffers from any demonstrable risk of losing money in the near future. His statement only means that the LA Times isn't providing you with as much money as you would like it to provide.

Sell this newspaper, sell it now, sell it while it still has some dignity, and some circulation.

These cuts come just a in crucial moment when angelenos and the rest of United States need more indepth journalism to understand the world’s changes. The quality and content of Times are going to be diminished,therefore I better start planning to subscribe to other news papers still committed to the delivering of food-for-thought coverage.

What did you expect. Years of running fluff pieces and pandering to the Westside liberals.You now have the audience that you deserve. You have run that paper like the L.A. schoolboard, and got the same results. The once great flagship of American newspapers now has a huge hole and is listing fast.

Why is the Times cutting editorial? The answer lies in these blogs which have been breeding like hamsters in the past few months. Everybody's a journalist today. Sadly, no one's a journalist. They're sound-bite writers read by the ADD generation. You're competing with porn and video games, not to mention the tabloids.

While there are a few great writers left, the Times has been dying for years. Let the plug-pulling begin.

Sadly, the most reliable news and good writing is found on The Daiy Show with John Stuart.

RIP LA Times.

xxoo
HG

WHY DON'T NEWSPAPERS CHARGE FOR INTERNET EDITIONS -- LIKE SALON.COM? THEN YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO LAY PEOPLE OFF.

Let’s just set aside for the moment the rationale (or lack thereof) publicly announced by Mr. Zell for his purchase of the Tribune and its assets. Newspapers are in the midst of radical changes in their business model. Why wouldn’t someone that buys such an asset invest in the asset to make it more attractive to its customers, and to address the changes in the marketplace? After all, no one buys the newspaper to read the ads exclusively. The content is what brings most people to the newsstand, making it possible to charge for advertising. Yet, by continuing to cut the resources available to the LA Times and his other newspaper properties, Mr. Zell makes them ever less attractive to readers, which inevitably affects his advertising rates. I don’t see how this makes him such a business genius - it just makes him a corporate raider, intent on stripping the value from the things that he buys and then throwing them away, worse for his possession of them. He risks virtually nothing of his own in the endeavor. Capitalist yes, but newspaper owner, not so much. I predict that, once he has all but ruined the value of the assets, local buyers will be able to acquire them and begin the painful process of rebuilding, much further behind than they would have been if Mr. Zell had not intervened. We should all hope that this salvation doesn’t come too late to save the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and the other newspapers he is so intent on destroying.


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