LA Times to cut 85 newsroom jobs |

LA Times to cut 85 newsroom jobs

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES – In the latest high-profile job cuts in the newspaper industry, the Los Angeles Times announced Wednesday it is cutting about 85 newsroom positions, or approximately 8 percent of its editorial staff.Some of the cuts already have come through attrition and some will come through a voluntary separation program, editor Dean Baquet wrote in an e-mail to staff. The balance will come through layoffs by year’s end.Employees have until Nov. 25 to apply for the voluntary program, the terms of which were to be detailed to the paper’s staff later Wednesday.Publisher Jeff Johnson told employees in a separate memo that job cuts in other departments will be announced over the next three weeks, as will initiatives to improve circulation and ad revenue.Baquet blamed the newsroom cuts on rising newsprint costs and declining revenue – challenges familiar to the newspaper industry. Like many newspapers, the Times, which is owned by Chicago-based Tribune Co., has been experiencing circulation declines: For the six-month period ended Sept. 30, the paper’s circulation declined nearly 4 percent to 843,432 copies.”Still, this is our second straight year of staff reductions, and this is a painful announcement to make,” wrote Baquet, who became the top editor at the nation’s fourth-largest newspaper less than four months ago. “It is one I’ve worked hard to avoid.”Another round of cuts had been rumored for weeks and created tension among the staff. On Tuesday, Baquet had announced the paper’s weekly section Outdoors was being eliminated.After the cuts, the Times will still have the country’s second-largest newsgathering staff among newspapers, according to Baquet. On its Web site Wednesday, the paper said it now has about 1,032 editorial positions.Baquet promised to “handle these staff reductions as humanely as possible” and said the paper will continue to provide readers with “powerful stories and photography.”The paper, which has won 13 Pulitzer Prizes since 2000, said it would expand coverage in some areas, including local and regional news.”Now more than ever, we continue to be committed to the Times’ mission of being the definitive voice in Southern California,” Johnson, the publisher, wrote. “Our readers and advertisers expect that we cover their world in a way no other media company can both in print and online.”The cuts are not likely to hurt the paper’s ability to be competitive, said newspaper analyst John Morton, president of the media consulting firm Morton Research Inc.Morton noted newspapers across the country, including The New York Times, have been making similar job cuts.”These newspapers generally have by industry standards fairly fat news staffs, so generally the layoffs are not draconian,” Morton said.In September, The New York Times Co. said it would cut about 500 jobs across its company, or 4 percent of its work force; Philadelphia’s two major newspapers said they would cut a combined 100 jobs.Earlier this month, The (Baltimore) Sun said it would cut 75 jobs, or 5 percent of its work force, with 12 to 15 expected to come from the newsroom. The Sun also is owned by Tribune Co.The San Jose Mercury News, owned by Knight-Ridder Inc., cut 16 percent of its newsroom staff earlier this month through attrition and buyouts.Vail, Colorado

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