'LA Times' Offers Buyouts To Seasoned Newsroom Staffers

The Los Angeles Times is offering a round of buyouts in an effort to meet a “challenging” year for the newspaper and the news industry, according to a memo from editor and publisher Davan Maharaj, obtained by Poynter.

“We are weathering the challenges better than most, because of our dedicated staff and several initiatives that have helped our business. However, we need to address the current economic realities as we work to secure our future,” Maharaj wrote.

The buyout is being offered to the more experienced staffers at the LA Times, specifically non-union employees who have worked at the company for 15 years or more and are not in the manufacturing, distribution or operations departments.

“It will be at the discretion of Los Angeles Times Communications, LLC whether to accept or decline applications,” Maharaj added in the memo.

In 2015, a previous round of buyouts saw more than 80 reporters and editors leaving the newspaper, affecting the metro, national and international desks, as well as sports, obits, food, education and business beats and the editorial page.



Some may rememberLos Angeles Magazine's scathing profile of the newspaper published in the magazine’s December 2016 issue, called “What’s the Matter with the L.A. Times?”

The story, written by contributing writer Ed Leibowitz, primarily blamed Maharaj for the paper’s troubles, portraying him as inexperienced and disrespectful. He also suggested seasoned journalists have left for lesser publications to escape a hostile newsroom environment.

LA Times editors Larry Ingrassia and Marc Duvoisin responded to Los Angeles Magazine’s profile at the time, calling the piece “misguided” and unfair. Leibowitz, in turn, defended the story in a response published in January.

Maharaj gave a brief statement to Los Angeles Magazine, saying he had to make “difficult decisions” in his five years at the helm, and that running a newspaper “isn’t a popularity contest."

The daily Los Angeles Timesis owned by Tronc, formerly known as Tribune Publishing.

Separately, Emma Carmichael, the editor-in-chief of Jezebel, the female-focused site formerly owned by Gawker Media but now by Univision Communications, announced Friday she's stepping down next month.

"This has been the hardest decision of my professional life, but it’s one I feel clear-headed about — I’m simply a little burnt out and ready to take a break from running a Web site," she wrote in a memo to staff. "I’m so proud of the work that we’ve done together in my three years here."

Carmichael, who took on the role of top editor in 2014, will remain as consulting editor of Jezebel through the end of September.
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