The layoff winds I mentioned in my LA Times post this morning swept through the newsroom today. The editors called it "modest staff reductions" in a terse memo this afternoon. Included are several senior members of the graphics and design team — I'll let them decide whether to be named. Variety reported that arts writer Jori Finkel was among the laid off and that the total was at least eleven. I've heard that 15-20 people may be leaving.
Editor Davan Maharaj and Managing Editor Marc Duvoisin did not use any names or numbers in their newsroom memo.
To the staff:
We’ve just completed a modest round of staff reductions.
Losing even a small number of colleagues is difficult. Losing them in a close-knit newsroom where we all work together for a common purpose is even harder.
But it does not alter our mission or our focus on the future.
We will continue to reshape the newsroom to enhance our digital report, from breaking news to narrative and investigative projects. That will require us to keep developing our multimedia skills--within the newsroom and with new recruits.
The redesign of latimes.com is set to launch this fall. It will greatly enhance the reader experience and give us a wealth of new tools for presenting stories, graphics, photos and video. The redesign will build on recent improvements, such as the new template for Column One, the groundbreaking work of our data team and our steadily expanding real-time coverage of the news.
We’re both available to respond to questions or concerns.
--Davan and Marc
KPCC reports that Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Kenneth Weiss and graphics editor Les Dunseith were among the staffers who are leaving.
There was a separate short email from Managing Editor, Digital Jimmy Orr about the redesign of the LATimes.com home page that went live last night. A staffer says this was the only notification received in the newsroom:
From: Orr, Jimmy
Sent: Friday, June 28, 2013 7:14 AM
Subject: Home page cleanup
As you may have noticed, our homepage looks a little different this morning.
We've made some cosmetic changes to clean things up and some good backend improvements that should reduce load time and cut production.
Think of it as a spring refresh…done just in time for summer.
* Update: The same day as the layoffs in Los Angeles, Tribune reported that earnings fell sharply in the first quarter of the year: net income down 41% from a year ago, revenue: down, newspaper ad revenue: down, digital ad revenue: down. Even expenses were down. LAT