Another round of layoffs has hit the LA Times as parent Tribune Co. looks to unload the newspaper along with seven others. Multiple reports say Friday’s cuts affected at least 20 staffers, including members of the graphics department and newsroom. Editor Davan Maharaj and Managing Editor Marc Duvoisin described the layoffs as “a modest round of staff reductions” in an internal memo Friday. The same day Tribune Co. revealed that its net income dove 41% in the first quarter from $99.1M last year to $58.4M, with its newspaper unit sliding 9% to $254 million in ad revenue. Variety was first to report the cuts.
This process should tell us whether the money people believe metropolitan dailies have much life left. Tribune, which is expected to emerge from bankruptcy protection at year end, is looking for a banker to help sell its eight newspapers …
2ND UPDATE: ‘Hero Complex’ blogger Geoff Boucher tonight finally acknowledged he is leaving the Los Angeles Times. He said on Twitter:
@geoffboucher: Interviewed Clint Eastwood over on the Warner Bros lot today…great way to go out.
@MYGEEKTIME: ”going out”? are u leaving LA TIMES?
@geoffboucher: Yes after 21 years.
My sources say longtime Los Angeles Times movie columnist Patrick Goldstein decided to take a buyout rather than work for the new leadership at the newspaper announced earlier this year. “He felt there was no more future for him there. It was obvious since all the new people think about is driving web traffic. They’re trying to put everyone to work doing that,” my source says. Wednesday’s edition of the LAT is Goldstein’s last column for that media outlet. No public announcement was made, and my source says about the lack of any explanation, “part of his going away deal is that he can’t disparage the new leadership”.
Goldstein’s thoughtful and knowledgeable and deeply sourced column appeared in the newspaper regularly and was one of the few remaining reasons left to read Calendar these days. But over the years he resisted many attempts to turn him into a daily Internet reporter. His resignation follows Editor Davan Maharaj’s arrival and then a new entertainment editorial team announced June 20th. That was like moving deck chairs on the Titanic given that the newspaper has become lazy and irrelevant and its showbiz ads have fallen 25% every year as studio and theater chains abandon the publication.
Goldstein began writing “The Big Picture” back in 2000 but started on the newspaper first as a music freelancer and then Calendar staffer and eventually prestigious movie columnist. In 2007 he was the subject of an editorial flap when the paper’s then Calendar top dog killed one of his columns. In what now seems prescient, Goldstein told me at the time, “I love working at a newspaper, especially this one, but if we don’t start embracing change in a big way, there won’t be great jobs like the one I have much longer.”
Thanks to FishbowlLA for alerting me to this: LATimes.com will no longer be free. Today, the newsosaur Los Angeles Times announced plans for an online subscription service. It will cost $3.99 a week for non-subscribers. For this you get lazy and irrelevant coverage of Hollywood.
Thank you, Los Angeles Times… Now those are 5 words I never thought my fingers would type. And yet the paper’s Patrick Goldstein just wrote some very nice praise for Deadline in — of all places — Sunday Calendar.
“Finke has been joined by a group of talented reporters from old-line
Tribune Co today announced that it has tapped Los Angeles Times publisher and CEO Eddy Hartenstein as its president and CEO. The former DirecTV chief is an interesting guy, but it’s hard not to think of rearranged deck chairs, etc., since he is keeping his LA Times responsibilities and …