LA Weekly’s new owner, Semenal Media of downtown, axed more than half the alternative weekly’s staff Wednesday, according to the paper’s now-former editor.
Mara Shalhoup said the entire LA Weekly staff was let go, but some employees were rehired. Only four of 13 editorial staffers were brought back. The rehires include a copy chief, a creative director, a music listing coordinator and one staff writer.
Shalhoup said that about 20 of approximately 40 non-editorial Weekly staff also were not rehired.
“I can’t speak to what plans the new owners have, I have no idea,” Shalhoup said. She said the staff cuts result in a major loss of institutional knowledge, as well as the bulk of a committed team “who cared so deeply about their work, they lived and breathed all things L.A.”
Shalhoup added, “What I thought when you were buying a publication that was small in size of staff, but large in stature and reach, you were buying what the people (on staff) have to say, and the creative pursuit. Apparently, that is not what they are buying.”
The new ownership did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.
Shalhoup set off a Tweet-storm Wednesday afternoon by posting news on Twitter of massive layoffs at LA Weekly.
“The dream team—who recently earned 21 @LAPressClub nominations—has been eviscerated” Shalhoup wrote. “Nine of 13 editorial staffers are gone, including all five editors and all but one staff writer.”
LA Weekly was put up for sale in January by Voice Media Group. Earlier this month, VMG announced the sale of the publication to Semanal Media, located in downtown Los Angeles, an entity established for the transaction.
At the time of the sale, Andy Van De Voorde, executive associate editor for VMG, said VMG would terminate employment of all editorial staff as part of the transition and pay them severance. He said it would be up to the new owners to decide whether to rehire those employees.
Media and entertainment reporter Diane Haithman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @dhaithman.