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Times to Eliminate Outdoors Section in Cost-Cutting Move

November 15, 2005|Jill Leovy | Times Staff Writer

The Los Angeles Times announced Monday that it would discontinue its Outdoors section as a cost-cutting measure, with the last edition appearing Dec. 6.

Times Editor Dean Baquet said he decided to cut the section in the face of higher newsprint costs, flat revenue, competition from the Internet and other pressures common to many newspapers.

He said he made the decision solely for financial reasons, and that he considered the section to be "one of the most inventive sections in any major newspaper."

Rather than cutting local, national and international news coverage, Baquet said he chose to eliminate the feature section with the content that could most easily be shifted to other parts of the paper.

"I made the decision that, instead of nibbling around the edges of the paper, it made more sense to make one thing go away," Baquet said. "Something had to go. It was a question of what."

Baquet and Associate Editor John Montorio notified Outdoors staff members at a meeting at 5 p.m. Monday. Baquet did not say whether there would be layoffs. "I told them I needed a little more time to figure that out," he said.

The Outdoors section, which is produced by a staff of 10, was launched in September 2003. At the time, "it seemed like a perfect

"I'm not sure it ever reached the market" for which it was intended, Montorio said.

He said Times managers hoped to save the jobs of staff members, who have "performed admirably."

"The section has never been better than it is right now. Nobody can ever question the journalistic or aesthetic quality of the work," Montorio said. "We were undone by forces not in our control."

There will be further cuts at The Times in coming weeks, Baquet said, but he declined to elaborate.

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