Saturday, January 31, 2009

More Cutbacks at LA Times

Tribune is at it again. The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that the LA Times will get rid of as many as 300 positions. Of those, maybe 70 are newsroom staffers, or 11 percent of the newsroom. Plus, the paper is folding its local section into the main A section. Could you imagine? Local news is disappearing from view not only at the LA Times but in newspapers nationwide.

This may be the beginning a new round of cubacks at Tribune newspapers, following very dismal profit/loss numbers newspapers are reporting across the country. Just a sample:

  • Gannett's profit fell 36 percent in the fourth quarter. The company is writing off $5 billion in good will. That means Gannett thinks its newspapers are worth $5 billion less today. If that's true of Gannett, other newspaper chains may soon engage in a second round of good will slashing. Mercifully, Gannett is hinting it may cut its dividend. Gannett pays about $365 million a year in dividends. Cutting the dividend may save some jobs.
  • A.H. Belo, publishers of the Dallas Morning News, is letting go 500 workers.
  • New York Times' fourth-quarter net plummeted 47 percent. It is looking to sell the Boston Red Sox, borrow against its new headquarters and recently borrowed $250 million from Mexican media mogul Carlos Slim, who already owns Times stock. Maybe the paper should change its name to El Tiempo de Nueva York.

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