LAist journalists proposed buyouts before possible layoffs

LAist journalists have been offered layoffs in anticipation of a possible round of layoffs at the local public radio station which broadcasts under the call sign KPCC-FM (89.3).

Kristen Muller, chief content officer at LAist, informed donors via email Thursday that the company was pursuing a “voluntary buyout program for current employees” in an effort to avoid workforce reductions. All full-time and part-time employees who work at least 24 hours per week are eligible for buyouts.

LAist reporter Caitlin Hernández job an excerpt from the memo online, along with a link for listeners who would like to donate to the nonprofit parent network Southern California Public Radio.

“We hope these buyouts will be enough to narrow the gap and avoid layoffs, but that remains unclear,” Muller wrote. “In the interest of transparency, we will continue to share updates with you as the situation evolves.”

In a statement provided to the Times on Thursday, Muller said LAist was “facing a significant budget shortfall” ranging from $4 million to $5 million over the next two years. She cited a decline in advertising, dried up investment reserves, digital monetization issues “and overall cost increases that have not kept pace with revenues.”

“We have reduced all non-salary expenses as much as possible,” the statement said.

“This does not mean we are abandoning our multi-platform ambitions or our desire to be a daily digital habit for Southern Californians looking for trusted news and information,” it continues. “In fact, our work has never been more vital and we are committed to its growth. »

LAist isn’t the only California media organization in trouble.

In March, the Long Beach Post laid off nine employees after editorial employees unionized and went on strike to protest impending cuts. Former striking Long Beach Post journalists have since created their own media outlet, the Long Beach Watchdog.

According to the Watchdog, the National Labor Relations Board is investigating allegations that the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal retaliated against workers who decided to unionize at the direction of the Media Guild of the West. The Times reached out to a Post representative for comment.

The Los Angeles Times has also seen layoffs in recent months. The Times cut more than 100 employees — or about 20% of the newsroom — in March, citing heavy financial losses.