Editor Jim O'Shea informed the staff today that eliminating the Times Poll operation came up during the recent round of staff cuts, but that he decided instead to keep a streamlined version. His memo says that poll director Susan Pinkus stays, but the fulltime staff will be cut to two from five, interviews will be outsourced and a new local partnership will be sought. Bloomberg News remains as a partner on national polls. Memo follows:
From: OShea, James
Sent: Wednesday, July 11, 2007 12:13 PM
Subject: LAT Poll
To the Staff:
In talks preceding the recent company-wide staffing changes, we discussed terminating the Los Angeles Times poll. I decided against taking that step, but did initiate some actions to restructure the poll to make it operate more efficiently. Going forward, we will outsource the interview process - meaning we will no longer bring in on-call employees to periodically interview respondents. The interviewers were formally notified of this decision earlier today.
We will continue our national poll partnership with Bloomberg and are seeking a local partner to enhance our ability to do more intensive area polling. In line with the way other papers are organized, the full-time polling staff will also be reduced from five to two. Susan Pinkus will remain director of the poll and these changes will take effect in September. Poll employees whose jobs were eliminated will be given our standard separation package.
The staffing actions taken in May accounted for the possibility of these future job reductions and business model shifts. This decision does not increase the number of full-time staff eliminations previously announced. Both field service vendor review and current polling work impacted timing.
I am confident these changes will preserve and improve the Los Angeles Times poll, while creating an organization that will continue to contribute to the excellence of the newspaper and the community.