Jul 25, 2011

LA Times cutbacks, papers for sale, and other speculation

I'm told a memo was circulated this weekend among Los Angeles Times staffers asking for volunteers to take buyouts as a way to lessen or avoid layoffs at the paper.

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.


Anonymous said...

Oh how the mighty and wish to be mighty have fallen.

Anonymous said...

This is comical except for the employees who continue to get shafted. Buying more newspapers will help them exactly how? These bozos are probably believing that dinasours will make a comeback. Like everything else they do, it is wrong and they will fail.

Fire more people, up the ante to buy another dying newspaper, cut coverage of what you allready have, then weaken further the newspaper you acquire. Continue to get rid of what little features the newspapers have further driving your miniscule circulation down...sounds like a winning formula to me.

Anonymous said...

If MediaNews gets its hands on the OCR, it would be an epic disaster. Not that it's not already an epic disaster. Just a more epic disaster. Good luck to everyone at the LAT -- and the OCR. The best thing would be for the LAT to get the OCR and the LAT to be sold to a reputable buyer.

Anonymous said...

Mark Heisler -- gone.

Anonymous said...

According to LA Observed, sports columnist Jerry Crowe and assistant business editor Sharon Bernstein are gone.