SPJ is concerned about LA Times staff cuts
Claire Regan, SPJ National President, email@example.com
Zoë Berg, SPJ Communications Specialist, 317-920-4785, firstname.lastname@example.org
INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists is concerned about the extreme staffing cuts made at the Los Angeles Times. This is the latest media company to make cuts in a discouraging time for journalism with disappearing advertising revenue and struggles to get funding.
On Wednesday, the Times announced that it is eliminating 74 positions in the newsroom, representing about 13% of the total and about half of the 150 positions that were created after local billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong bought the paper in 2018.
“This is yet another sign of a disturbing trend across our industry. When newsroom management makes these kinds of cuts, the public becomes less informed, which puts our very Democracy at risk,” said SPJ Vice President Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins. “We hope LA Times management adheres to its collective bargaining agreement with the LA Times Guild and offers buyouts to the unionized staff impacted before imposing these layoffs.”
Although SPJ is glad that reporting positions will remain largely unaffected, we are concerned about the loss of production staff. Nearly a third of the cuts come from news and copy editor ranks with the audience engagement team, photojournalists, audio producers and temporary workers also taking a big hit.
Journalism is essential to keeping citizens engaged and informed. Each role in the newsroom plays a vital part in making that happen. SPJ wants to see more journalists in communities, not fewer.
Journalists are the lifeblood of the Society, and it is painful to watch as they lose their jobs. SPJ stands with journalists who were laid off, and we thank them for their vigilance in pursuit of truth. If you are a current SPJ member who has recently been laid off, you may be eligible to have your membership feeds waived for six months.
SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund or give to the SPJ Foundation.