The Chicago Tribune, the Times's sister paper, laid off 20 people on Friday, "many of them" from the newsroom, WBEZ reported.
Times employees are in a state of anxiety, as LA Observed pointed out last week, as rumors of layoffs swirl amid continued efforts by owner Tribune Co. to crawl out of bankruptcy. Investors are impatient and layoffs are a quick way to improve the financial picture in the short term.
So, is this about boosting profits and satisfying debt holders? Or should we believe the Wall Street Journal's speculation that the Times could be being readied for sale - with a smaller payroll making for a more attractive sales price?
And since we're speculating... Could the Tribune be raising cash as a way to up its bid for the Orange County Register? The Register's publisher announced Friday that he'll at the end of September, which would indicate a deal is in the works. MediaNews Group had emerged as the top bidder for the paper, but negotiations broke down last month. This was followed by a flurry of layoffs in MediaNews's Southern California newspapers - a sign the chain is looking to up its ante.