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Times lays off 10% of editorial staff

The paper cuts 75 employees in the newsroom as advertising revenue continues to decline.

October 28, 2008|Roger Vincent | Vincent is a Times staff writer.

Facing falling revenue in a stalling economy, the Los Angeles Times on Monday laid off 75 editorial employees, part of a 200-person reduction that began last week.

"The Times is no less immune to the twists and turns of the current economic situation than virtually all other businesses and institutions," Publisher Eddy W. Hartenstein said in a prepared statement. "As such, we continue to evaluate and realign our organization and operations."

The cuts represented about 10% of the editorial staff, Editor Russ Stanton said in an e-mail memo.

Monday's staff reduction came on top of earlier cuts this year. In February, The Times slashed 100 jobs, including more than 40 in the newsroom. In July the company reduced the number of pages it published each week by 14% and eliminated 135 positions from the newsroom.

Monday's cuts brought the editorial staff to about 660, down from a high of 1,200 in 2001.

The cuts reflect conditions across the newspaper industry, which is confronting sharply deteriorating print advertising revenue.

Although online ad revenue is rising, it has not made up for the losses.

Newspaper profit has been declining at a steadily accelerating rate since the second quarter of 2006, including through a sustained period when the overall economy was in an expansive, robust phase, said independent media analyst and investor Alan Mutter.

Newspapers rely heavily on advertising from retailers, people selling real estate, auto dealers and employers looking for workers. All those business categories are hurting.

The Times is part of Tribune Co., a Chicago-based media company that owns a variety of newspapers, television stations and other assets including the Chicago Tribune, KTLA-TV Channel 5 and the Chicago Cubs baseball team.

Since Chicago entrepreneur Sam Zell took Tribune private in December, the company has eliminated 2,000 jobs and cut the number of pages its newspapers publish as the corporation seeks to make annual debt payments of close to $1 billion.

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roger.vincent@latimes.com

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