A spokeswoman for the company, Hillary Manning, had no comment on tensions in the newsroom or the scope of the proposed cuts but said in a statement that the newspaper appreciated “the concerns elected officials have expressed regarding the anticipated layoffs.”
She added that The Los Angeles Times had appealed to lawmakers to pass legislation that could help address financial challenges faced by local news publishers.
“We have made it very clear, to many of these same lawmakers, over the past several years the existential crisis local news publishers face,” she said. “The Los Angeles Times faces economic challenges as acute as any.”
Major layoffs at The Times, the largest news organization on the West Coast, would be the latest in a series of bad news for the publishing industry, which is facing gale-force economic headwinds. In addition to The Times, The Washington Post and Time magazine collectively lost tens of millions of dollars last year, despite having billionaire owners who have invested deeply in their newsrooms. Cultural touchstones like Pitchfork and Sports Illustrated haven’t been spared either, with both publications announcing significant cuts in recent weeks.
When Dr. Soon-Shiong bought the paper in 2018, The Los Angeles Times reported that its newsroom included about 400 people, with roughly 138,000 digital subscribers. Journalists, who had been beleaguered by years of corporate infighting and cost cutting, welcomed a wealthy owner who said he was committed to investing. Over the course of two years, about 150 new journalists were hired, and the paper reinvested in coverage of foreign news and expanded its digital presence.