The Los Angeles Times said Tuesday it will lay off about 115 journalists, cutting its newsroom by more than 20 percent after a tumultuous few weeks due to the departure of top editors and a staff strike.
Patrick Soon-Shiong, the billionaire owner of The Los Angeles Times, said an interview With his newspaper reporting that he was losing $30 million to $40 million per year and needed to make more progress in building a larger audience.
Dr. Soon-Shiong said, “It is really difficult to reflect on the recent tumultuous years, during which our business faced significant challenges, including losses of more than $100 million in operating and capital expenditures Included.” The first years of the pandemic.
Dr. Soon-Shiong said that since he bought The Times in 2018, “we have invested nearly a billion dollars, underscoring our dedication to preserving its legacy and securing its future, However he did not explain how he arrived at this figure.
A spokesman for The Times had no immediate comment.
The announcement, following talks between the union and the Times management, ends uncertainty over the extent of the cuts. On Friday, hundreds of journalists walked off the job for the day to protest planned layoffs, marking the first time in the 142-year history of The Times that the newsroom organized a work stoppage.
This month, the executive editor, Kevin Merida, suddenly announced he would be stepping down. Dr. Soon-Shiong wrote in a note to staff that he and Mr. Merida had “mutually agreed” that Mr. Merida should leave. Two other top editors, Shani Hilton and Sarah Yassin, announced their departures in recent days.
News of the layoffs – which will shrink the newsroom to the size it was when Dr. Soon-Shiong bought it – was sent in a brief email to affected employees on Tuesday. According to a copy of the email seen by The New York Times, the human resources department informed him that his last day would be near the end of March, citing the “difficult economic operating environment.”
“We are sad to take this step and thank you for your work for the Los Angeles Times,” the email said.
The cuts affected several departments of the Los Angeles Times, including its business desk, its Washington bureau and its “Fast Break” desk, which covers breaking news.
Matt Pearce, president of the Media Guild of the West, which represents unionized workers at The Times, said in a Post X that 94 of those fired were union members.
“This total, while devastating, is significantly less than the total number of guild layoffs initially expected last week,” he wrote.
In an email to colleagues on Tuesday, business reporter Sam Dean, who is a member of the union leadership, said: “Keep in mind that these proposed layoffs are not final, they are proposed and would have to be negotiated with the guild, and maybe a buyout. -Can be changed in the form of trading, negotiation etc.
“Don’t sign anything,” he said.