Patterico's Pontifications

10/21/2009

Layoffs at L.A. Times

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 6:45 am

I’ve been hearing rumors of layoffs at the L.A. Times for the past week or so. Yesterday I officially learned that they have happened. I learned this through Facebook. Tina Daunt — a columnist and former reporter whom I defended back in 2007 in a minor flap over a story about Fred Thompson — is one of the latest to be laid off, as she reports on her blog (which I saw on Facebook):

I had a really bad day today, and tomorrow is going to be even worse. You see, I’ve been a newspaper reporter for a major metropolitan paper for a lot of years now. I used to believe that newspapers could weather any storm. Now I’m not so sure. There’s yet another round of layoffs, and I think my number is up this time.

After seeing this yesterday, I headed over to L.A. Observed, which was reporting on Daunt’s message, which she has since confirmed — as well as the impending departure of another writer, Diane Haithman.

I’m hearing rumors of 30-34 people all in all, but this is the only official news I’ve seen.

31 Responses to “Layoffs at L.A. Times”

  1. I never wish for anyone to lose their jobs, but perhaps the LAT will actually start reporting the unemployment figures in earnest from now on. No more of those insulting “funemployment” memes, please. Many people are really hurting out there right now, start writing about it instead of protecting your Precious.

    Dmac (5ddc52)

  2. Schadenfreude isn’t as much fun as it’s made out to be.
    It would be more fun if the top guys got dumped.

    Richard Aubrey (a9ba34)

  3. They can always go to work for the Democrat Party. Oh wait, why should the Dems hire the lay offs when they get their message out for free with the mainstream media.

    Alta Bob (e8af2b)

  4. Tim R, however, will probably remain employed.

    Heck of a way to run a business, firing all your decent people…

    Scott Jacobs (445f98)

  5. here you go sweetie

    happyfeet (f62c43)

  6. At what point does the institution, and the employees step back and begin to question the factors that have led to this?

    JD (8e9826)

  7. The New York Times just announced that they are laying off about 150 editorial employees, according to a story in The New York Times. The Times also disclosed that after the purge they will have about 1250 editorial employees left, or about 500 more than any other American newspaper.

    Official Internet Data Office (203a2f)

  8. I wish no one ill. It’s tough when you lose your job. But I will not miss the columns from Tina Daunt’s latest beat. She was covering Hollywood and the “industry”. Her columns were written with a gush as though she were describing royalty, and as if the political opinions of the Hollywood crowd were or should be the sole determinant of US policy. Now I don’t doubt that went over well with the egos that the LA Times was massaging–but it sorta stunk out here among the hoi polloi.

    I could not get past the second paragraph of the typical Tina Daunt column without gagging–and stopping reading. Messrs. Hiltzik and Rutten also generate the same level of nausea.

    If you’re selling something that people just flat out don’t like, sooner or later you’ll sell less of it.

    Ms. Daunt, from all appearances in her earlier roles at the Times, is a competent journalist, and I hope she lands a decent position at some other paper. Her stint in the “games and toys and hero worshipping column” at the Times ought not be a permanent blot on her escutcheon.

    Mike Myers (710e8b)

  9. I wonder why any paper is still functioning. They can’t last much longer (in the paper format delivered or sold on the corner). On-line, they can make it.

    Maybe this ‘paperless society’ I heard so much about decades ago will actually happen??? Just don’t take away my Charmin.

    Corwin (ea9428)

  10. The LA Times could be a great newspaper, if it would stop trying to be the New York Times. As a Me-Too liberal rag though, it hasn’t a chance.

    There is a pressing need for a centrist or center-right national paper, somewhere between where the Times is and the WSJ.

    Sadly, though, I don’t think that the Times has the remaining personnel to pull it off, but instead will become the paper that folks like Hiltzig and Lazarus used to work for.

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  11. It’s not that people don’t want a physical paper delivered, it’s that they don’t want THIS one delivered. The Wall Street Journal is thriving and is the only one that succeeds in selling it’s content online.

    Could it be that the market for left-wing opinion is saturated?

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  12. Newspapers may survive if they don’t charge for content. They have been fooled by the success of The Wall Street Journal, which is partly by paid subscription only. The Journal can get away with it because they have a worldwide audience, because it’s usually tax-deductible, and because the Journal is a tool for making money.

    Newspapers have to wake up and realize that ABC News, for example, doesn’t charge for content. Of course, The New York Times tried to charge for op-ed content, but discovered that people didn’t want to pay to read columns by effete, impudent snobs.

    Official Internet Data Office (203a2f)

  13. I used to believe that newspapers could weather any storm.

    Such a sentiment, even during the best of times for the MSM, but particularly the newspaper business, is rather naive. I recall most papers being pretty tight with a buck some time ago, when the money was rolling in and they were expected to generate a very high annual return for their investors.

    I might not be shedding crocodile tears for the ongoing collapse of the LA Times if it at least had a few feature columnists who truly were of the center, much less conservative. But, of course, so many journalists are about as naive (or foolish) about their political biases as Daunt is about economics. So if they were to hire a non-liberal, right-leaning writer, in their mind that would mean a person similar to Joe Lieberman, Michael Bloomberg or Andrew Sullivan.

    Mark (411533)

  14. I will echo the previous comments that I hate to see anyone lose their job, but if Ms. Daunt truly believed that “newspapers could weather any storm” then clearly she lacked a grounding in reality. That is one of the major problems in our new economy: people in dinosaur industries somehow think they are immune to the rapid changes being made.

    JVW (d1215a)

  15. ^ To add to that, I recall someone at the LA Times saying that most newspapers throughout America often were barely running in the black. And if a publication like the LA Times therefore was of better quality than most of its peers in the industry, it wasn’t a situation that was easy to maintain from a bottom-line standpoint.

    BTW, that person’s comment was made about 15 or more years ago, or before the Internet and PCs in every household really started to kick in.

    Mark (411533)

  16. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch of people.
    You want to know why you’re laid off, Libs? Because you sat at the sidelines cheering while YOUR guys delayed, buried, obfuscated or just plain lied about the truth!
    You don’t tell the truth, people figure it out and leave.
    Now it’s coming home to bite you in the ass. How’s that hope and change working for ‘ya?

    FoxNews and Palin!

    Metallica (e4735c)

  17. Did you know that David Lazarus attended the Crossroads “Prep” School, in Santa Monica? (Or, to be more accurate, the Crossroads “School.”) Same as Winona Ryder!

    Official Internet Data Office (203a2f)

  18. When your day to day reporting (not the editorial or opinion pages)is as bad as the Times or most of the other U.S. dailies I read and you systematically ignore stories that reflect badly on one political party you have to expect people who want real news to go find it elsewhere. Believe me ladies, you aren’t the only game in town anymore.

    glenn (757adc)

  19. She can always go work for the prez. Seems like that’s what all of her MSM brethren are doing these days.

    Crush Liberalism (2b09b0)

  20. Well, are we really supposed to be forlorn about the NYT and LAT dropping reporters? I’m not. The LAT has captured a new niche that may be better suited for itself – they have been contracted to be the local delivery service for the OC Register and the WSJ in Orange County.

    I suggest that a newspaper entrepreneur pursue a business plan that says that like Paul Harvey that they report “the REST of the story”. I have argued for some time now that I would prefer a paper be a day late reporting AP stories in order to tell the rest of the story and the true context. Have reporters that are dedicated to a topic (health care, climate, economy, immigration, etc.) and reward them for covering both sides of the story. Or have 2 reporters representing opposing perspectives cover the issues. Instead, I must read the AP crap day and day out and spend my time searching the internet for everything that was left out.

    in_awe (a55176)

  21. New York Times to lay off 100 from newsroomsource, http://www.thaindian.com 10/20/09

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  22. Days where I do not see the letter-combination of DSCSA are good days.

    JD (07f478)

  23. Dggcrpp posts something that we already read about earlier – priceless.

    Dmac (5ddc52)

  24. You’ll know the death knell is sounding for the dead tree media when the environmentalist movement abandons their former allies and starts seriously raising hell over the disastrous consequences to the planet (only recently realized) by the daily waste of millions of trees to spread yesterday’s Democrat talking points.

    Newspapers are expendable, and will have to be sacrificed when the time comes. It’s progressive.

    ropelight (360224)

  25. Most businesses losing money would examine their business model–what’s working, what’s not. The LA Times notes, presumably, that reporting only liberal points of view isn’t working, and what do they do–they write more liberal stuff, and blame conservatives and Fox News for their downward spiral. You can feel sorry for them, but if old media isn’t willing to help itself and adapt, there’s not much the rest of us can do.

    Rochf (ae9c58)

  26. The KC Star, faced with declining subscriptions and thus revenues, doubles down by reducing content and raising prices. When they are not buying your product just simply repackage in a smaller box and charge more!

    I just don’t think they can figure out that it is not working for them.

    rls (e58293)

  27. The newspaper business model went obsolete the day the Internet reached critical mass. Newspapers have only been able to sustain themselves this long because they supported special interest groups and politicians who could keep them afloat with subsidies largely drawn from the public trough. The unholy alliance has been able to postpone the inevitable, but it can’t prevent a general bankruptcy without a federal entitlement program. Developing.

    ropelight (360224)

  28. It does indeed seem to be time for the —30— for the LA Times …

    Alasdair (3bff4a)

  29. According to the LAT website, Haithman, (whom I don’t know)has 722 stories under her name since 1997. That works out to 60 a year for 10 years or a little over 1 story a week. That’s not exactly heavy lifting, especially as she wasn’t covering breaking news or doing investigative work. LA Observed says she’d been contributing to the pet blog. Frankly, if I’d weathered a couple of layoffs, I’d step it up.

    But Tina Daunt? Why would the LAT get rid of her? She’s a lively writer, with a lot of out-put.

    Kate (4d7c94)

  30. evil, uncaring bastage that i am, i *will* cheer the layoffs at both of the papers…although i wish they’d quit teasing and just give up and close for good.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  31. While I realize the demise of the newspaper business and the horrible dumbing down of television and cable news will make us all a bit poorer, I for one raise my glass in glee as I hear of each new liberal rag going down in flames. Tis foolish to alienate 1/3 of your customer base and this is what comes of it. A raised glass and impish glee. Mainstream liberal media, you’ve got it coming!

    Amused Observer (51ae88)


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