Are you the target of a newspaper layoff?

The LA Times today offers this week’s round-up of impending layoffs and buy-outs in the newspaper industry.

Yeah, it’s a brutal time for the news business. But when has it not been? I, for example, am a member of the LA Times buyout Class of 2004 — a year when the economy supposedly was booming, near the height of the housing bubble and its surge in real estate advertising. Yet The Times offered buyouts that year and laid off a slew of employees, including editorial and online staffers.

Like Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Secretary,” the newspaper industry is addicted to cutting itself. Good economy or bad, the industry cuts and cuts and cuts, hoping, what? That a smaller newsroom will somehow by itself point the way toward monopoly-level profits in an increasingly competitive market?

Next week on OJR, I will write about steps journalists can use online to increase their career options. But, before I get to that, I’d like to start the conversation by inviting you to tell us about your experience.

If you took a buy-out or were laid off, what did you do next? Please tell us in the comments. And if you’d avoided the chop up until now, please tell us about the mood in your newsroom. Finally, if you’re a solo or indie online journalist, we’d love to hear how that’s going, too.

About Robert Niles

Robert Niles is the former editor of OJR, and no longer associated with the site. You may find him now at


  1. Tom Honig says:

    After 35 years at the Santa Cruz Sentinel — 15 as editor — I took a low-end buyout, essentially, to prevent three others from being laid off.
    It was time to go. The new owner, MediaNews, had torn the heart out of the paper. Moved us from downtown to an out-of-town, frontage road office building. The press? Gone. We printed in San Jose, with papers trucked over. Deadine? About 10:30 p.m.; sometimes earlier.
    Now, I’m learning PR. I don’t say it with any shame — I’m learning a tremendous amount, and finding out that there are new skills and someday I’ll actually be a better person and jouralist because of it.