LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Times on Wednesday announced plans to cut 74 jobs due to economic challenges as the newspaper strives to transform itself into a digital media organization.
In a message to staff, Times Executive Editor Kevin Merida wrote that employees whose positions are eliminated from the Pulitzer Prize -winning newspaper were being notified and that a staff meeting would be held to answer questions.
“We have done a vast amount of work as a company to meet the budget and revenue challenges head on. But that work will need acceleration and we will need more radical transformation in the newsroom for us to become a self-sustaining enterprise,” Merida wrote.
The cuts will eliminate about 13% of newsroom positions and affect full-time and temporary workers including editors, audio producers and managers, the Times reported. The cuts follow a series of layoffs at news organizations including the Washington Post and NPR.
The move also comes days after journalists at two dozen local newspapers across the U.S. walked off the job to demand an end to painful cost-cutting measures at Gannett, the country’s biggest newspaper chain. Gannett said those cuts aimed to address declining revenue amid a downturn in ad sales and customer subscriptions.
The newspaper industry has struggled for years with such challenges as advertising has shifted from print to digital, and readers have abandoned local newspapers for online sources of information and entertainment.
The Los Angeles Times Guild, which represents more than 400 editorial employees, voiced anger at the layoffs.
“We are completely blindsided by this news,” the Times' Guild Unit Council said in a statement. “This is a case study in bad faith and shows disrespect for the newsroom, which recently added two more Pulitzer Prizes to its long list of awards and recognition for its top-shelf work.”
The guild's contract requires management to bargain over proposed layoffs, and this did not occur, the statement said.