Los Angeles Times buyout offer prompts 15 percent of newsroom to raise their hands

Fifteen percent of The Los Angeles Times newsroom has applied for buyouts, according to a source with knowledge of the process.

At least 75 individuals in the 500-person flagship of Tribune Publishing have applied for the buyout, which can bring a maximum of one year's pay, depending on length of service.

Although individuals can still rescind their applications next month, it would appear the company is on the way to meet a goal of $10 million in long-term editorial reductions in Los Angeles, which was disclosed last month by Poynter.

The roughly 75 individuals would be separate from those in other departments of the paper seeking the buyout. If the company did not reach its overall intended financial reductions that way, it would likely execute layoffs.

The Los Angeles response to the offer strongly suggests that the ambiguities of both the company and industry in general will be sufficient incentive for large numbers to leave company-wide. At The Chicago Tribune, it is believed that a roughly similar percentage, or about 50 editorial employees in a smaller newsroom, have applied for buyouts.

Not surprisingly, at both papers those applying include veterans who would be eligible for as much as a year's pay. They also represent a wealth of experience and expertise.

The sharp cuts come amid a variety of Tribune tribulations, including a messy dismissal of the Los Angeles publisher, a falling stock price and a sub-par digital performance.

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    James Warren

    New York City native, graduate of Collegiate School, Amherst College and Roosevelt University. Married to Cornelia Grumman, dad of Blair and Eliot. National columnist, U.S. News & World Report. Former managing editor and Washington Bureau Chief, Chicago Tribune.


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