LOS ANGELES, CA – As many as 75 more editorial positions may be cut from the newsroom at the Los Angeles Times using voluntary departures and layoffs, according to journalist Kevin Roderick on LA Observed.
In addition, features editor Leo Wolinsky is leaving the paper. Wolinsky has been with the Times since 1977, where he's been a staff writer, deputy managing editor, metro editor, city editor, the editor who oversaw page one, the Sacramento bureau chief, and before moving to features he was the associate editor of the Times. Wolinsky directed the coverage of the Los Angeles riots and the Northridge earthquake, both stories winning spot news Pulitzer Prizes for the Times.
A memo from Times editor Russ Stanton said that he and Wolinsky "did not agree" on the best way to change the organizational structure of the Features department "so that our coverage in this multimedia world could improve and evolve. ... leading to the difficult decision that he [Wolinsky] will be leaving the paper."
Wolinsky has witnessed the arrival and departure of several Times top editors as well as publishers and – until now – somehow survived the angst and turmoil created by Sam Zell buying the Times as part of the Tribune Co. purchase and the subsequent downsizing and dismantling of the Los Angeles newsroom.
Roderick says that Times editors met over the weekend to finalize their lists of newsroom employees who will be eliminated, and that some staff members were approached last week to see if they were interested in leaving. He says that some staffers were told that this round of cuts would be "the absolute final time" that editorial employees will be offered two weeks of severance pay for each year they've worked at the newspaper.
By Roderick's count, this round of job cuts will leave the Times with approximately 650 newsroom staff, but it's not known if that includes the Washington bureau (and whether the Washington bureau will be cut more after the presidential election).