LA Times Hit By Layoffs As Profits Plunge 41% at Tribune (Updated)

The Wrap

The Los Angeles Times has cut more employees in what the paper termed a "modest round of staff reductions" on Friday, just as the parent Tribune company announced a quarterly earnings report with profit down by a staggering 41 percent.

The layoffs coincided with the end of the parent Tribune Co.'s quarter and a redesign of its website.

The company reported net income of $58.4 million in the first three months of the year, a 41% drop from the $99.1 million a year earlier. Revenue dropped 3.3% to $705 million and pretax income declined 7.8% to $80.2 million.

No parts of the multimedia company did well, but newspaper earnings were particularly dire. In that division revenue dropped nine percent to $254 million. Even digital advertising was down by two percent.

According to the Times report, retail advertising, which includes department stores and home-improvement stores, dipped 7% to $129 million. Classified ads fell 7% to $69 million.

The beleaguered company, which was mired in bankruptcy for several years, is trying to sell off its newspapers to focus on its TV holdings.

A spokeswoman declined to say how many staffers were cut, but media reports said that at least 11 employees got their pink slips this round, including arts reporter Jori Finkel.

Also read: Coalition Protests Tribune Sale to 'Radical Right Wing' Koch Brothers

In a letter to the newsroom obtained by TheWrap, editor Davan Maharaj and managing editor Marc Duvoisin called the layoffs "difficult" before describing plan for a more sweeping overhaul of the website and alluding to "new recruits."

Besides the L.A. Times, the Tribune owns the Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun and the Hartford Courant. The right-wing Koch brothers are said to be interested in buying them. The paper has undergone numerous rounds of layoffs as it has struggled to adjust to the shift toward online news. 

Also read: Koch Brothers, Right-Wing Ideologues, Serious About Tribune, L.A. Times Bid

Tribune's fiscal year ends at the end of December. Tribune released the earnings results on its website at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time Friday.

Read the newsroom memo below:

"To the staff:

We've just completed a modest round of staff reductions.

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.

But it does not alter our mission or our focus on the future.

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 redesign of latimes.com is set to launch this fall. It will greatly enhance the reader experience and give us a wealth of new tools for presenting stories, graphics, photos and video. The redesign will build on recent improvements, such as the new template for Column One, the groundbreaking work of our data team and our steadily expanding real-time coverage of the news.

We're both available to respond to questions or concerns.

--Davan and Marc"

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