Staff cuts at LA Times hurt all of us
by Peter Weinberger | email@example.com
The Los Angeles Times announced another round of newsroom cuts Tuesday that will clearly impact their coverage. The latest layoffs affect 115 people, about 20% of the Times’ staff.
Times owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong said the cuts were necessary because the paper could no longer lose $30- to $40-million a year.
Soon-Shiong said all the predictable things, including “It is imperative that we act urgently and take steps to build a sustainable and thriving paper for the next generation.” It’s hard for me to see how this works, other than the need to save money quickly.
To Soon-Shiong’s credit, he did begin his tenure by setting out to rebuild the Times’ coverage, literally rescuing the staff from the previous poor ownership. But like most media companies, print and digital, the pandemic wiped out millions in advertising revenue, clearly putting the kibosh on the turnaround. Hollywood’s recent labor issues also piled on significant losses.
Before Tuesday, the Times had an editorial staff of 500, which definitely puts them in the category of a large newspaper company. That muscle showed in much better coverage, especially in the role as a watchdog, which is much needed in the state.
Unfortunately this week’s layoffs at the Times are just the latest in a yearslong contraction in the print media landscape. In 2023, we lost a remarkable 2,500 journalism jobs.
These and other recent layoffs have especially impacted new hires with less seniority, including people of color, just as the Times had been making modest progress hiring journalists with diverse backgrounds. There were losses at the top as well, including Editor Kevin Merida, Managing Editor Sara Yasin, and another top editor, Shani Hilton.
The sad part is these cuts are deep enough to impact coverage. Arguably, the Times plays the leading role in informing Southern California on a variety of important topics. These cuts are about far more than job losses. It’s a loss of still more professional journalists focused on fact-based reporting. And if an institution like the Times can’t survive with a local owner who is willing to invest millions of family money in the business, what will it take?
Right now that’s the multi-million dollar question.
Update on “Timeless Claremont” book delivery
Trying to predict when a delivery via boat from China will arrive is easier said than done. The latest from our printer is the latest and largest shipment of our new coffee table book of photography, “Timeless Claremont,” will be here late this week. Given it’s Friday, that means now. I’ll be calling on Monday. Keep in mind it takes one to two weeks for delivery to the Courier office.
It cost us about $2,000 to expedite (via air) 150 books. By the second week of December, those were spoken for, and we still have over 120 people who have paid on a waiting list. Our goal now is to begin distribution before Valentine’s Day. If you have paid, you will be notified immediately when we have them in hand.
With 800 books coming, we have plenty to accommodate everyone who has shown interest in “Timeless Claremont.” This has turned out to be a once in a decade type of photography book, and we are excited by all the interest. Due to popular demand, we will have another book signing party at the Claremont Chamber of Commerce on March 2. If anyone is interested in selling our book at their business, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We just ask for your patience as we get our shipment off the boat!