LA Times Announces New Round of Buyouts

“2017 has been challenging,” editor and publisher Davan Maharaj writes in a memo to staff

The Los Angeles Times is offering yet another round of buyouts in an attempt to cut costs in its newsroom, and individual familiar with the matter told TheWrap.

The paper’s editor and publisher Davan Maharaj announced the buyouts in a Friday memo to staff obtained by TheWrap.

Maharaj said “2017 has been challenging” for the paper and entire news industry, and the voluntary buyout plan should help the company “address the current economic realities.” The buyout is limited to non-union employees who have worked at the company for 15 years or more, and are not in manufacturing, distribution or operations.

There is a perceived “brain drain” in the newsroom now, TheWrap’s source said, adding that a lot of good people have left or will leave.

Former Times parent Tribune Company spun off the paper as Tribune Publishing in 2014, separating its newspaper group, which also included the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and Orlando Sentinel, among others, from its more profitable TV stations and real estate. More than 80 reporters and editors left the newspaper during a previous round of buyouts in 2015, including longtime columnist Sandy Banks, London bureau chief Henry Chu and Seattle bureau chief Maria LaGanga. Chicago software mogul Michael Ferro became the largest investor in Tribune Publishing in February 2016, and changed the name of the company to Tronc, short for Tribune online content, that June.

Here’s the full text of Maharaj’s memo:

Colleagues,

For the Los Angeles Times, and the news industry overall, 2017 has been challenging. We are weathering the challenges better than most, because of our dedicated staff and several initiatives that have helped our business. However, we need to address the current economic realities as we work to secure our future.

To do that, we are offering a limited voluntary buyout plan for certain Los Angeles Times employees. This plan will include severance benefits that those eligible may find appealing. Participation is entirely voluntary.

Eligibility to apply for the buyout, or Employee Voluntary Separation Plan (EVSP), will be limited to non-union employees with at least 15 years of service at the company and excludes the Manufacturing, Distribution and Operations departments. It will be at the discretion of Los Angeles Times Communications, LLC whether to accept or decline applications.

Employees who are eligible will be notified by email and will be able to pick up their severance offer directly from Human Resources. The offer will include detailed information about the plan, how to apply and the relevant dates and deadlines. Those eligible are encouraged to review the offer thoroughly and discuss it with their managers, family and personal advisors before making a decision about whether or not to apply. The Human Resources team is prepared to answer any questions you may have.

As we move forward on our digital transformation, we will continue to focus sharply on the quality journalism that Los Angeles Times readers expect of us ?”? and we expect of ourselves. Despite the challenges in the industry in recent years, we have delivered award-winning journalism that serves our growing community of readers in ever-expanding ways.

Your work makes a difference and makes us proud every day. Thank you.

– Davan