Amid growing gloom in the newspaper business, the Los Angeles Times plans to lay off 300 workers and shelve its local news section, LA Observed reports. Foreign and national news will be downplayed to fit local stories into the front section, the publisher said in a memo today. Seventy newsroom staff will get the ax, cutting reporting strength to half what it was before Sam Zell's Tribune Co. took over in 2000.
Morale among Times reporters "totally blows, especially in Metro, the department most hurt by losing the section," writes LA Observed blogger Kevin Roderick. Publisher Eddy Hartenstein "also has people kind of freaked out, I hear—but only unofficially since he has tried to ban employees from talking to me. 'We have a vindictive publisher,' an editor told me, asking to stay unnamed."