The way the Los Angeles Times buyout process works, some staffers who put in for the separation package — such as certain critics and columnists — were told hell no you can't go (at least not and be paid for it.) Most of those in the newsroom who applied were accepted, and those acceptees can still opt out before signing the final papers (including a promise not to disparage the paper upon leaving.) Then there are those whose applications were accepted and who have announced, to colleagues or to social media usually, that they are indeed leaving.
Bill Dwyre, the columnist and former sports editor, was the first to go on record when he said at a gathering last month that he would be retiring this month. On Monday, his longtime sports colleagues Chris Dufresne and Chris Foster posted on Twitter that they had been accepted and were going. Dufresne is the columnist on college football; Foster covers UCLA sports and is a former hockey reporter for the Times. Pretty nice tribute tweets:
News that will thrill some, sadden others: Buyout application accepted today from L.A. Times. Sorry, 140 characters can't wrap up 40 years.— Chris Dufresne (@DufresneLATimes) November 16, 2015
@DufresneLATimes has long been the west coast voice of college sports, his cfb column was a weekly bible and most read story in our section.— Bill Plaschke (@BillPlaschke) November 16, 2015
After 28 years, I have taken the LA Times' buyout. Off to enjoy life, something that segment of #ucla fans who seem so unhappy should try— chris foster (@cfosterlatimes) November 16, 2015
It's not just sports. Fashion critic Booth Moore confirmed Monday to WWD.com that she is leaving the paper (but her husband, fellow fashion and style writer Adam Tschorn, is staying.) "I have not gotten any sense that there will be a future fashion critic,” Moore says. The next step for the LA Times fashion, beauty and shopping section, L.A. Times Image, is “in question,” Moore says in WWD.
Longtime political writer Jean Merl announced on Facebook that she is taking the buyout. One benefit of posting your news is you get to bask in the good wishes of friends and colleagues; in Merl's case, many previously departed Times colleagues and people she covered in politics are wishing her well. She posted a photo of her last desk at the Times.
In the Food section, the columnist and former editor Russ Parsons announced last week that he is moving on as well.
Hard to sum up in 140 words, but after 26 extraordinary years, I'm leaving the @latimes. I'll always be grateful for my time here. 1/2— Russ Parsons (@Russ_Parsons1) November 13, 2015
Las Vegas bureau chief John Glionna also made his news known last week.
Time to say adios. After 26 years, it's my time to say goodbye to an LA Woman, a vexing siren who has been cruel at times, but who has held all of my professional attentions for nearly half of my life. I join scores of veteran Times staffers to take the recent buyout offer. For me, this is no retirement, but a chance at reinvention. For the time being, I plan to remain in Las Vegas, to teach (a scary image in many circles, especially some courtrooms) travel and write -- for newspapers, online outfits, magazines and maybe even something of the hardbound variety. The LA Woman has been family to me. I will miss her and wish her only the best.
There have been reports that as many as 70 Times staffers were accepted. Somewhat fewer than that are expected to leave after the recisions happen. If they let me know they are going, I'll be happy to pass along their news to friends, colleagues in the media and the LA community. As they depart and the Times shifts personnel to fill in, I'll try to report on the key moves. Chatter in the newsroom is that some desks are getting hit very hard.
Across Tribune Publishing, seven percent of employees will be bought out and leave at all newspapers.
The other interesting news in the LA Times world Monday is that Oaktree Capital Management, one of the big stockholders of Tribune Publishing, is taking the steps that would allow the firm to put its 18 percent stake up for sale. Attention Eli Broad and Austin Beutner (or Rupert Murdoch…)