Times editor Jim O'Shea emails the staff to report that 57 editorial staffers will be leaving, some voluntarily and some given the Al Martinez treatment. The Los Angeles Times Poll is being re-evaluated, O'Shea says. I'll flesh out the names as I get them. His email is below:
From: OShea, James
Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2007 4:14 PM
To the staff:
Today the Los Angeles Times completed a voluntary and involuntary employee separation program. The vast majority of people leaving the newspaper will depart voluntarily over the next few weeks. The total also included a very small number of involuntary departures. Everyone who will be leaving has been notified. All will receive a generous separation package that includes salary continuation and outplacement assistance.
In the editorial department, 57 members of the staff will be leaving the paper, not including a few editorial assistants whose positions are being converted to part time jobs in reorganization. We will replace a significant number of people, though, to offset the decline. We are also examining our polling operation to determine if reorganization could increase revenues while achieving further savings. We expect to complete this examination in the next couple of months.
Some highly talented people are leaving the staff and I hate to see them go. No one enjoys going through something like this, least of all me. This is a time of wrenching change at our paper and in our industry. I wish those leaving all the best. I pledge to do anything I can to help them with their futures.
Now it is time to move forward and meet the huge challenges ahead. Even after this reduction, we have a strong, large and talented staff eager to tackle the industry-wide problems that have made staff adjustments an unfortunate reality in nearly every paper in the nation.
We must move on and convert our staff into a vibrant multi-media organization that breaks news on the web and explains and analyzes it in our newspaper. These moves are well underway and will bring us success. I refuse to believe the headlines that the future of news organizations is bleak. We face a dim future only if we refuse to change and do something about it. Hundreds of committed, excellent journalists remain on our staff, producing stellar news and cultural coverage. The Los Angeles Times will remain a full-service newspaper providing the best and most sophisticated coverage of the city, the region, the state, the nation and the world.
I will be meeting with individual departments over the coming weeks to answer questions and solicit ideas about how we can make the Los Angeles Times and latimes.com an even better operation. We must show the world that, as our circulation stabilizes, we are growing rapidly on-line and our overall readership is rising, despite the industry's problems. I truly believe the news and headlines will get better in the coming weeks and months.
Creativity, flexibility, innovation, great storytelling and smart editing will mark the road to our future. We are journalists and we must sustain and grow our ability to explain Southern California and the world beyond to the people living in this dynamic and vast region. Great journalism in print and on-line will continue to be our legacy. We must seize the future; it is within our grasp.
I look forward to working with all of you to secure a great future.