The Los Angeles Times, the fourth- largest U.S. newspaper, is cutting about 85 newsroom jobs, or 8 percent of the editorial staff, before the end of the year because of rising costs and lagging sales.
Some employees will be offered a separation package while others will be fired, top editor Dean Baquet said today in a memo. The breakdown won't be known until it's clear how many choose to leave, the memo said. Employees have until Nov. 25 to decide.
The cuts mark the second round in two years for the paper, owned by Chicago-based Tribune Co. The New York Times Co. and Knight Ridder Inc. announced job cuts in September. The Los Angeles paper, acquired by Tribune in 2000 as part of its $7.5 billion purchase of Times Mirror Co., has lost readers for five years. Average weekday circulation fell 3.8 percent to 843,432 as of Sept. 30, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
Publisher Jeff Johnson told employees in a separate letter job cuts in other departments will be announced within three weeks, spokeswoman Martha Goldstein said in an interview.
Baquet, who took over in August, blamed rising newsprint costs and declining revenue. Baquet replaced John Carroll, who resigned rather than implement cost-cutting measures demanded by Tribune management, according to recent articles in the New Yorker and Los Angeles magazines.
Shares of Tribune, the No. 2 U.S. newspaper publisher behind Gannett Co., fell 33 cents to $32.44 at 4:18 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. They have fallen 23 percent this year.
The Times reported yesterday it will discontinue its Outdoors section on Dec. 6 as a cost-cutting measure.
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