The Times’ downtown L.A. printing facility will shut down in 2024 “as a result of the city’s declining tax base and declining population.” It’s a statement of fact, not theory. The Times is expected to close its Los Angeles office in January 2020, and in February, it says, it will lay off about 25 employees.
The Times’ decision to close the downtown L.A. printing office isn’t an outlier. Most national newspapers have announced layoffs or closings. It’s almost a uniform trend.
For the past decade, the industry has been in a sustained recession that reduced profits and cost jobs. As the economy has improved, newspaper companies have announced layoffs and cutbacks. Some have stopped publishing altogether.
The Associated Press recently found that a majority of the 300 U.S. newspapers it examined had experienced at least one involuntary job cut in 2015. The AP found that some newspapers lost jobs when they had no choice but to cut back on expenses.
Here’s a sampling of newspaper closings across the U.S. in recent years:
The Associated Press analyzed the 200 newspapers that accounted for 88% of the newspapers that the AP observed in 2015.
The Washington Post closed its downtown L.A. office last year, along with seven of its 19 other reporting offices.
A year ago, the Times abruptly announced it would stop publishing its Metro section, with the closure and other cutbacks expected to affect several hundred employees.
The News & Observer of Raleigh-Durham, N.C., shut down last year. The last print edition of the paper is due to be published in January.
The San Francisco Chronicle, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner known for its high quality sports coverage, announced last year that it would stop publishing in June as a part of a cost-cutting measure. “The company’s decision to shutter a portion of its print operation in San Francisco is not a reflection on San Francisco itself or its quality of journalism,” the Chronicle said. The decision to stop publishing was a “difficult decision for all involved, but we feel that given the realities of the newspaper industry right now — particularly in California and the Bay Area — it is the best way to minimize our operating losses and the risk of further cuts.”