Apparently trying to compete with the Orange County Register for worst place to work on the planet, the Los Angeles Times is about to lay off 250 people, including 150 newsroom employees, according to a source who, for the time being at least, still actually works at the paper.
There's been rumors of imminent layoffs at the Times circulating for weeks, but this is the first time an actual number has surfaced.
No word yet on how many of those soon-to-be-ex-employees work in Orange County, but another source at the paper provided us a full text of today's email to Times staff from publisher David Hiller in which he announces the job cuts.
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.
Asked if there was anything else we should know about the layoffs and morale at the Times, our source summed things up in two words.