Los Angeles times layoffs
Latin Times/Video Capture

A series of Latino leaders sent the Los Angeles Times' leadership a letter criticizing the media outlet for recent layoffs, which have heavily impacted journalists from this demographic, Axios reported on Thursday.

Concretely, the Los Angeles Times has laid off about 20% of its newsroom staff, with the paper's Latino Caucus losing almost 40% of its members.

Sources within the LA Times revealed to the Latin Times in late January that the De Los section, dedicated to the burgeoning Latino community of Los Angeles, faced a staggering reduction, losing 75% of its staff.

In this context, leaders including civil rights icon Dolores Huerta and former U.S. Rep. Julián Castro sent the letter to LA Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong saying the outlet needs Latino journalists to properly cover the city, which according to 2022 Census figures had a Hispanic population of almost 49%, or 4.9 million people.

"Our concerns are further heightened by the apparent contradiction between these layoffs and the promises made by the Los Angeles Times in 2020 to enhance diversity within the newsroom," reads a paragraph of the letter, whose signatories described themselves as "deeply troubled" by the decision to conduct the layoffs.

In contrast, Los Angeles Times spokesperson told the outlet that layoffs were conducted in accordance with its Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), "which prioritizes seniority and sets forth a process where the last people hired are the first to be let go, with very few exceptions." The spokesperson, Hillary Manning, added that LA Times leadership sought some flexibility from the guild but it declined to compromise.

The decision comes amid heavy losses and declining revenue for the paper. Soon-Shiong, the billionaire owner of The Los Angeles Times, had said to The New York Times that yearly losses amounted to between $30 million and $40 million.

The LA Times is far from being the only outlet in this situation, including in the realm of Hispanic media. Univision, a dominant force in the U.S. Spanish-speaking TV network, laid off around 200 employees across various departments in mid-January. Telemundo had done the same in this past fall.

These layoffs across major media and tech companies are part of a broader trend within the industry, which saw over 20,000 layoffs in 2023. This represents the highest number of layoffs since 2020, impacting various sectors including magazines, public radio, trade publications, and cable networks. Major news organizations like CNN, Gannett, The Washington Post, NBCUniversal, and ABC News have also faced significant layoffs​​.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.