Watch CBS News

Los Angeles Times announces it will layoff at least 115 people

CBS News Live
CBS News Los Angeles Live

Four days after Los Angeles Times journalists held the first strike the paper's 142-year history, leadership announced plans to lay off at least 115 people, or more than 20% of the newsroom staff.

In comments reported by The Times, owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong said the paper could no longer endure annual losses of $30 million to $40 million a year, and drastic changes are needed.

"Today's decision is painful for all, but it is imperative that we act urgently and take steps to build a sustainable and thriving paper for the next generation. We are committed to doing so," Soon-Shiong said.

The layoffs were met with immediate condemnation by affected staffers and members of the Los Angeles Times Guild, the union representing the paper's newsroom employees.

"I'm devastated," one laid-off worker wrote on X, formerly Twitter. "It was always a dream to make it to the hometown paper. It was an honor while it lasted."

Another wrote, "The journalism grim reaper has arrived at my door and what once was a dream is now a nightmare."

Matt Pearce, president of Media Guild of the West, which encompasses the Los Angeles Times Guild, wrote that the layoffs affect about one-fourth of its membership. He noted that "while devastating," the number is "nonetheless far lower than the total number of guild layoffs initially expected last week."

The layoffs follow the departure earlier this month of Executive Editor Kevin Merida, who told The Times he left over disagreements with Soon-Shiong over his role and newsroom strategy. Managing Editor Sara Yasin resigned Monday, following the earlier departure of fellow Managing Editor Shani O.

Hilton, representing half of the four-person team that was overseeing the newsroom following Merida's departure.

Tuesday's layoffs follow the elimination last summer of more than 70 newsroom positions at The Times.

Soon-Shiong insisted, however, that the paper was not in a state of turmoil, saying "We have a real plan."

"It is indeed difficult to reflect upon the recent tumultuous years, during which our business faced significant challenges, including losses that surpassed $100 million in operational and capital expenses," Soon-Shiong said in remarks reported by The Times. "Despite these difficulties, we made a deliberate decision to abstain from implementing layoffs within our newsroom during the COVID pandemic, maintaining the newsroom headcount throughout until the last several months despite the losses."

Layoffs have become an all-too-common occurrence in newsrooms across the country, with media companies struggling to cope with dwindling revenues and challenging business environments. According to CNN, news outlets across the country cut nearly 2,700 jobs in 2023 alone, the largest number in the industry since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the publications affected recently have been The Washington Post, which announced plans last year to cut 240 jobs through buyouts, following the earlier elimination of nearly two dozen positions. More recently, Sports Illustrated sent layoff notices to virtually its entire staff, leaving the future of the venerable publication in doubt. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.