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Saturday, May 28, 2022

TIMES—L.A. Times Staff Cut by 40 in Newsroom Early Retirements

More than three dozen newsroom staff members at the Los Angeles Times have accepted offers of early retirement as part of its parent company’s efforts to reduce headcount.

About half the 37 employees listed in an Aug. 23 internal office memo took their leave beginning Aug. 24. The balance are expected to leave at various times until Dec. 31, according to the memo. The Times is owned by Chicago-based Tribune Co.

L.A. Times’ spokesman David Garcia confirmed that “about 40” of the newsroom staff took the retirement package. Most were administrative, librarian and photography positions and did not include section heads, deputies, foreign correspondents or critics.

The Times originally projected 30 staff members would take the retirement package, but expanded it to 40 “because we felt we could accommodate additional requests without impacting the quality of our journalism,” he said.

Tribune Co. spokesman Gary Weitman said the window for employees to accept the retirement package began in June and ended in the second week of August.

The 37 employees listed in the memo include Boris Yaro, Doug Shuit, Marlene Cimons, Early Gustkey, Larry Armstrong and Jim Mann.

Of the Times’ 6,000 employees, 900 met eligibility requirements for the retirement package. Of those, 170 were from the editorial staff.

To be eligible, staff members had to be at least 50 years old and have five years of service. They had the choice of receiving the pensions in a lump sum or monthly.

The move is part of Tribune’s efforts to reduce overall employment by 6 percent. Half of those reductions were through the early retirement offer; the other half from reorganization and attrition.

The media company, which also owns locally-based Times Community News, has 21,000 employees.

Times Community News employs about 150 in three local publications: Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader and Foothill Leader. In June, the company said a “handful of reductions” were made at the group, including publisher Judee Kendall, who reportedly took early retirement, and editor John Francis, who was laid off.

L.A. Times Publisher John Puerner said in a June 15 L.A. Times story that he expected “fewer than 50” jobs at the local paper to be eliminated involuntarily.

Tribune Co. reported monthly revenues of $470 million in July, down 6 percent from the same month last year. It said monthly publishing revenues were down 6 percent, to $339 million, from last July and year-to-date publishing revenues were also down 6 percent from the same period last year. Retail advertising also saw a 6 percent decline from July 2000.

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