The Los Angeles Times, a publication of the Tribune Company said today that it would close its printing operations in Orange County, California to cut cost, resulting in about 80 layoffs and will begin publishing a new section devoted to late-breaking news.
In a memo to employees yesterday, LA Times publisher Eddy Hartenstein said the paper would generate "substantial savings" by consolidating its printing operations at one facility in downtown Los Angeles.
"All of our efforts are being done with a keen eye toward limiting personnel loss throughout the company, while maintaining and growing other areas of the business," Hartenstein wrote.
In another cost-saving measure, the paper will eliminate the stand-alone Business section on Mondays and the width of the paper will be reduced to 44 inches from 48 inches - a standard being adopted by newspapers across the US. Business-oriented stories will appear inside the main news section that day.
As part of the closure, The LA Times plans to start a new section dubbed LATExtra to accommodate earlier deadlines caused by the plant closure.
But according to a Los Angeles-based paper, The Wrap, Hartenstein struck a deal with News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch to print The Wall Street Journal's west coast edition in the plant instead, which according to it was confirmed by a spokesperson of News Corp.
The Wrap said others within the newsroom of LA Times disputed this view, saying the issue came up Thursday when, Editor Russ Stanton explained the changes to various section heads. They said that effectively, the LA Times is giving up the ability to have live news on its front page so that it can print the Journal's live news.
Both the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal will now feature fresher news on their front pages than the LA Times, a reality that has some newsroom insiders livid.