The Los Angeles Times Washington bureau, one of the last pre-Tribune strengths of the paper still mostly intact, has been told that Chicago will announce this Friday that the bureau is being down-sized and stripped from Times control. A smaller bureau will serve all of the Tribune papers, TV stations and websites and be led by someone from Chicago. Layoffs will take effect on Nov. 18. "Letís just say it's bad in every way it can be bad," a Times staffer wrote to colleagues after a meeting with LAT bureau chief Doyle McManus. The whole memo is at Romenesko, along with a rebuttal letter from McManus pointing out that some details are wrong. He doesn't question the numbers: 19 shared reporters and five editors, plus two other reporters dedicated to the Times, in the new bureau. The current Times' Washington bureau alone has at least 25 reporters and six editors, per the latest online staff roster (via Google cache, since the live roster has been taken offline.) Times editors in Los Angeles are described as "upset" that the paper will no longer have the signature Washington bureau that was a legacy of the Otis Chandler era.
What of McManus?: In the memo, the bureau chief is quoted saying Chicago was timing the announcement and layoffs to be "inhumane." Without addressing that specifically, he told Romenesko the memo gives an incomplete and distorted version of his remarks. "I said I believe the new Tribune Bureau will be fully capable of producing the kind of first-rate coverage that the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and other Tribune bureaus now produce, and I urged skeptics among my colleagues to give the new organization the benefit of the doubt," McManus wrote. Bureau sources say that McManus has told them if he remains in the new Tribune bureau, it will be in a writing role, perhaps with a column.
Sigh: The LAT caught up in Saturday's paper to the Jonathan Gold-Mark Gold dialogue from last week, but in the course of describing Jonathan's resume in Los Angeles print media (food critic, music writer, copy editor) left out that he worked at the....L.A. Times. For a long while. He even posted a comment (scroll down) based on his time there recently on the LAT's Food section blog.