Los Angeles Times Lays Off 115 Journalists, Decimating Newsroom

Union leaders say the number is “far lower than the total number of Guild layoffs initially expected”

The Los Angeles Times building
The Los Angeles Times building (Credit: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Times started the process of laying off 115 staffers from its newsroom on Tuesday, reducing the editorial staff by more than 20 percent.

Those laid off included Washington bureau chief Kimbriell Kelly, deputy Washington bureau chief Nick Baumann, business editor Jeff Bercovici, books editor Boris Kachka, and music editor Craig Marks, according to the LA Times’ own reporting

The Washington bureau, photography and sports departments had major cuts including several award-winning photographers. The video unit was devastated, the paper reported.

As employees were notified that their roles had been impacted, many took to X (formerly Twitter) to lament the newspaper’s management and grieve the loss of their jobs. “The journalism grim reaper has arrived at my door and what once was a dream is now a nightmare,” posted state politics reporter covering tech and entertainment policy Queenie Wong.

LA Times Guild president Matt Pearce said the newspaper’s management notified him that layoffs of 94 union members would start on Tuesday. While lower than the initial rumored number of staff cuts, these layoffs are equivalent to around a quarter of the guild’s membership.

“This total, while devastating, is nonetheless far lower than the total number of Guild layoffs initially expected last week,” Pearce wrote on X. 

According to the LA Times’ own reporting, management will be laying off at least 115 staffers, more than 20% of the newsroom. This number includes guild members and managers, and is expected to fluctuate as the layoff process continues over the next 30 days.

Owner Patrick Soon-Shiong told the LA Times that cuts were necessary because the paper could no longer afford to lose nearly $40 million a year, without progress toward a more engaged readership that brings in more revenue. 

“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 told the LA Times.

Soon-Shiong also mentioned that Friday’s work stoppage spearheaded by the guild “did not help.”

Over 300 members walked out on Friday in response to management’s proposed layoffs.

On Monday, the union urged members to attend Wednesday’s bargaining session with LA Times management to observe and show support for the guild. 

“The excellence of the Times is at risk,” an internal note to guild members read. “We are fighting to protect the institution, and one another. We should be proud.”

According to the Guild, “Management was clearly unnerved by our actions last Friday. We need our managers to know we are not letting up.”

Additionally, ten members of the California delegation in Congress sent a letter to L.A. Times owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong and the L.A. Times Guild on Monday, expressing their concern over the scope of layoffs proposed by management, urging all parties to negotiate in good faith to “avoid a drastic measure.” 

The congressional members urged management to consider taking a voluntary buyout approach rather than simply laying off staff. 

An editor for the L.A. Times posted that her division De Los, which targeted English-speaking Gen Z and millennial Latinos, was “gutted.”

De Los was only launched in July and was part of an effort to “engage younger audiences as the storied paper looks to add more digital subscriptions,” former executive editor Kevin Merida told Axios at the time of its launch.

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