'Modest' Round of Staff Lay Offs at L.A. Times

Los Angeles Times Building - H 2013
Getty Images

Los Angeles Times Building - H 2013

Up to 20 employees, many in the graphics department, were reportedly let go.

As the newspaper faces weekly rumors about its potential sale, The Los Angeles Times just underwent a "modest round" of staff layoffs. 

In a memo sent to the staff Friday, editor-in-chief Davan Maharaj and managing editor Marc Duvoisin stated: "Losing even a small number of colleagues is difficult. Losing them in a close-knit newsroom where we all work together for a common purpose is even harder."

When contacted by The Hollywood Reporter, a Times spokesperson declined to comment on the number of staff laid off. SoCal public radio station KPCC reported that the number of employees let go was "about 20," with the graphics department the most impacted. Media blog LA Observed pegged the number of staff laid off at 15 to 20. 

STORY: Tribune Co. Launches Digital Ventures Unit 

As the Tribune Co., parent company of the Times, looks to unload its newspaper assets, the L.A. paper has faced constant speculation about its potential new ownership.

Potential buyers who have been reported to have expressed interest in the paper include Doug Manchester, owner of the U-T San Diego, Aaron Kushner, owner of the Orange County Register, News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch and billionaire industrialists David and Charles Koch

Billionaire Eli Broad has paired with former deputy mayor Austin Beutner to make a bid for the paper, THR previously reported. Tribune Co. -- which owns papers such as the Chicago Tribune and Orlando Sentinel as well as local and national television networks -- exited bankruptcy on Dec. 31. 

The Times website recently underwent a slight homepage makeover and a full redesign is scheduled to launch this fall, according to the memo. The paper introduced a metered pay wall online in 2012 that it billed as a membership program for readers.

"We will continue to reshape the newsroom to enhance our digital report, from breaking news to narrative and investigative projects. That will require us to keep developing our multimedia skills -- within the newsroom and with new recruits," the memo from Times editors read. 

Email: erik.hayden@thr.com Twitter: @Erik_Hayden