The nine daily newspapers that make up the Los Angeles Newspaper Group plan to merge their copy desk functions sometime in the next few months. The resulting universal copy desk will be based in West Covina, home of the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. As many as 10 copy editor slots could be lost as part of the merger (from about 85 positions down to about 75).
I'd reported last month that LANG's so-called Inland Division - the Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, Whittier Daily News, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Redlands Daily Facts and San Bernardino Sun - had planned to consolidate their copy desks. The broader plan now takes in the Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze and Los Angeles Daily News.
Some LANG newsrooms were told about the plan earlier today, with the admonition that the plan's final shape had yet to be fully worked out. Employees were also warned of more turmoil in the coming weeks.
*Updated: Though some details of the plan have yet to be sorted out, editors at the Daily News and Daily Breeze decided to tell their respective newsrooms about the merger today to head off rumors. Copy editors were told they would be eligible for severance if they choose not to make the move to West Covina.
Also, while the universal copy desk might seem radical at first, it's really just the final step for consolidation-addicted LANG. Although there are nine papers, there are only five copy desks - the Daily Breeze and Press-Telegram share a desk, so do the Star-News, Tribune and Whittier Daily News, and so do the Bulletin, Sun and Daily Facts. Only the Daily News has a desk of its own.
**Updated II: The Daily Breeze folks are finally set to move in to their new offices at the end of the month. There is, of course, room for a copy desk.