From the west to the east of the United States, the crisis spares few American media. The Los Angeles Times announced on Tuesday, January 23, the dismissal of more than a fifth of its editorial staff, while journalists from the Condé Nast publishing group, which includes Vanity Fair and Vogue, demonstrated in New York against a Social plans.

At least 115 journalists from the Los Angeles Times will be laid off as they face annual losses of $30 million to $40 million, its owner, the billionaire biotech entrepreneur, announced Patrick Soon-Shiong, in the pages of the great Californian newspaper, created 142 years ago.

“Today’s decision is painful for everyone, but it is imperative that we act quickly and take steps to build a viable and thriving newspaper for future generations,” with more subscriptions and advertising revenue, explained the businessman, who bought the newspaper for $500 million in 2018.

“We still believe in the Los Angeles Times and the important role it plays in a vibrant democracy. But a newspaper cannot play this role when its staff is cut to the bone,” lamented the newspaper union, as the country prepares to experience a tense presidential campaign in 2024, probably between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

Difficult turn for the traditional press

The Los Angeles newspaper, which has won 51 Pulitzer Prizes since 1942, must adapt to the upheavals of the digital age, declining advertising revenues and the loss of subscribers, a difficult shift for many newspaper titles. traditional. Seventy positions had already been eliminated in June 2023 at the Los Angeles Times. The editorial director, Kevin Merida, left his position in early January, amid disagreements with the owner, according to media reports.

From the Washington Post, owned by billionaire and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, to public radio NPR, via Vox Media (New York Magazine, The Verge, Vox), the year 2023 was marked by numerous announcements of job cuts in American editorial offices, a movement that has been going on for years.

On Tuesday, the boss of Time Magazine, Jessica Sibley, also wrote to her teams to announce “the difficult decision to eliminate positions within several departments”, without giving figures, according to a journalist from the Semafor site, which published the information about

According to a report in early December 2023 from Challenger, Gray and Christmas, a human resources consulting firm, 2,681 jobs had already been lost in newsrooms in 2023, compared to 1,808 in 2022 and 1,511 in 2021.

Another shocking and very symbolic announcement, the majority of the editorial staff of the prestigious Sports Illustrated magazine will be fired by its publisher, The Arena Group, the American press union announced on Friday.

A “targeted attack”

The difficulties also affect media of the internet age, such as Vice Media, which has been bankrupt since May 2023, while BuzzFeed announced, in April, the closure of its news site BuzzFeed News, with 180 layoffs as a result.

The announcements in the Los Angeles Times and Time Magazine came as 400 journalists and unionized employees of the Condé Nast group, which brings together titles like Vanity Fair, Vogue and GQ, stopped work twenty-four hours on Tuesday to protest against the conditions of a layoff plan in the group.

In New York, at the foot of the One World Trade Center building, where Condé Nast has its offices, more than a hundred of them demonstrated in the rain, then in the humid cold, voluntarily ignoring the coverage of the nominations for the Oscars in Hollywood.

Condé Nast announced in November 2023 its intention to lay off 5% of its teams, or around 300 people. But the group’s union, formed in 2022, is protesting in particular against a plan which targets 20% of its members and amounts to a “targeted attack”, according to one of its leaders, Ben Dewey. According to the website Variety, actress Anne Hathaway, known for her role in the film The Devil Wears Prada (2006), which was set in Vogue magazine, left a photo shoot at Vanity Fair in solidarity with the strikers.