Mar 23, 2009

Layoff day at the Times*,**

The buzz was that today would be the day for layoffs at the Los Angeles Times and Kevin Roderick at LA Observed appears to have confirmed it. From LAO:
Most guesses I'm hearing put the number at more than 50, with the editor ranks expected to take the heaviest hit. These are the delayed execution (second memo) of the previously foretold exits tied loosely to the demise of the daily California section. If the talk among Timesers is correct (and frankly, it usually is about these things), there will be names that resonate.
*Updated: LAO reports that former public health reporter and Bottleneck blog writer Steve Hymon (who was a frequent guest on "Which Way, LA?") was notified yesterday that he was out at the Times.

**Updated II: The firing of Hymon has me troubled - not only because another good journalist got laid off, but because it seems to be a rejection of everything experienced journalists are being told to do to survive: give their beats a more populist flavor, find a locally relevant niche, embrace blogging and other new media strategies, etc. I don't know the Times' internal politics or why Hymon was picked over anyone else, this is just a gut level reaction.


Anonymous said...

I'm with you. The firing of Hymon is mystifying.

Alan Mittelstaedt said...

Steve Hymon was the best transportation writer in Los Angeles. Transportation is one of the top three issues in Southern California, and readers of the Los Angeles Times came to rely on his exclusive stories and analysis. The Times' top managers should have taken 10 percent pay cuts before showing him the door. If it would reinforce this message, I'd cancel my subscription; instead, the paper will continue to play a smaller role in my life and thinking and that of thousands of other readers. Top editors Russ Stanton and David Lauter should resign themselves before tossing aside writers of the caliber of Steve Hymon. When they push out people like him, they are surrendering the newspaper's role in keeping government accountable to the people on one of the most pressing issues facing everyone who lives in Southern California. The next time you're stuck in traffic, or choking on exhaust, or wondering why Congress or the state Legislature is so slow to address our transit needs, blame the Los Angeles Times and its less-than-visionary leaders. On second thought, maybe I will cancel my subscription unless the Times brings back Hymon and restores must-read Bottleneck Blog to its glory days. By the way, with the Times' surrendering key beats and expert reporters, does anyone really care if the Times folds? Let the online revolution continue.