Another day, another layoff rumor. That seems to be the mood at the L.A. Times, where the guillotine still stands in the corner.
“I think that at a certain point,” says staff writer Gale Holland, “after a certain number of layoffs, that the prospect of layoffs is wallpaper in our industry. I no longer monitor it.”
Media columnist James Rainey agrees. “It doesn’t do you a lot of good to spend a lot of time wringing your hands,” Rainey says. “If you’re involved in an interesting story you’ll bury yourself in it — that’s the best coping mechanism.”
One reporter who wished to remain anonymous said, "What I specifically asked several weeks ago was that from a high ranking editor there would be more layoffs, how many was unclear. It was my impression that it would be in the single digits. I have heard that the features section would be hit significantly."
So far, there’s been no official word on the rumor, most recently refreshed on Nikki Finke’s blog, which claimed that about 40 staffers are about to go. TheWrap’s request for confirmation has not been answered.
“There’s absolutely no deadwood left at the Times,” Holland says. “Everyone’s working nights and weekends – the editors are pressed to the wall with work.”
“Ironically,” says one knowledgeable source who spoke on condition of anonymity, “the paper is positioned to make $40 million this year.” Still, the source noted, that’s considerably down from 2008’s $100 million profit – and way down from 2006’s $240 million net.