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L.A. Times Announces the First of 3 Cost-Reduction Programs

November 04, 1998

The Los Angeles Times is implementing several programs--including employee cutbacks--to reduce costs, focus resources on key growth initiatives and improve its operating efficiency in specific areas, Kathryn M. Downing, the newspaper's president and chief executive officer, announced Tuesday.

The first of three cost-reduction phases was announced Tuesday and will cut staffing levels by about 250 people. This includes a voluntary severance program in the editorial and operations departments, where staffing will be reduced by about 30 and 20 people, respectively.

Most of the other staff reductions elsewhere in the organization will be involuntary.

The Times will also contract with an outside company, APAC Teleservices, for its incoming customer service calls, which will eliminate 60 full-time and 70 part-time positions at the newspaper.

"The Times' long-term health depends on growth and we have invested heavily to achieve that," Downing said. "However, national and classified ad revenues are not growing at the rates we anticipated.

"As a result, we have a substantial third-quarter operating profit decline compared to last year. We are evaluating everything we currently do to determine what is no longer essential to our future growth and to determine where we can be more cost-effective," she said.

Two other cost-reduction programs will be announced before the end of the year.

The Los Angeles Times, a unit of Times Mirror Co., is the nation's largest daily metropolitan newspaper.

Times Mirror shares slipped 31 cents to close at $55.63 on Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. The cost-reduction plan was announced after the market closed.

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