Sources at and around the LA Weekly confirmed that last night's staff cuts include long-time editor and columnist Marc Cooper, managing editor Sharan Street and copy chief David Caplan — three senior newsroom positions — as well as staff writer Matthew Fleischer, senior designer Laura Steele and assistant to the editor Pandora Young. I don't know the exact circumstances of each departure; the staffers haven't commented and email to editor Laurie Ochoa hasn't been returned. Cooper's exit strikes me as no surprise, given the politics of the place. He was a survivor from the pre-New Times era at the Weekly, and this week — in what I presume is his last column — he made a bunch of election endorsements that seem to flout both New Times ownership's policy against endorsements by its papers and some of the positions favored less formally by Weekly deputy editor Jill Stewart. Cooper had been an editor and media columnist for the Weekly in the 1980s and returned several years ago; the masthead lists him now as a staff writer. Outside the Weekly, he's a full-time journalism prof at USC Annenberg and editor of the Off the Bus project at the Huffington Post.
The sources I've heard from who know how the Weekly gets produced can't imagine the place functioning without a managing editor or copy chief, especially since the fact-checking staff was eliminated a while back. But the cuts were blamed on economic conditions. I'm told that a half-dozen positions also were cut in advertising and production. Number two editor Joe Donnelly left in April.