Layoffs swept much of the media industry this week in an ominous start for 2024, further thinning the ranks at once-mighty publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Time and Sports Illustrated.

More than 3,000 editors, reporters and journalism industry professionals have lost their jobs over the past year, according to estimates by Bloomberg News, adding to what has been a devastating few decades, particularly for newspapers.

The job reductions include some of the most storied names in the business. Time magazine cut 15% of its staff. Condé Nast, publisher of Vogue and the New Yorker, has let go 5%.

The fate of Sports Illustrated, long the pinnacle of sports writing in the US, is up in the air after its publisher, Arena Group Holdings Inc., defaulted on a licensing payment to Authentic Brands Group, which owns the name.

The layoffs coincide with a surge in union organizing. Forbes Media, whose workers first voted to unionize in 2021, announced plans to cut 3% of its staff right as employees began a three-day walkout this week.

“It is yet another example of Forbes management’s union-busting,” Andrea Murphy, a NewsGuild representative and statistics editor at Forbes, said in a statement. A spokesperson for Forbes declined to comment.

But the broader issue is the decline in advertising, including digital spots, long thought to be the savior of the business. BuzzFeed Inc., which shuttered its namesake news division last year, reported a 35% decline in advertising in the third quarter.

Patrick Soon-Shiong, a biotech billionaire who acquired the Los Angeles Times in 2018, told the paper this week that the company saw $60 million worth of ads disappear during the pandemic.

Soon-Shiong said he’s been losing as much as $40 million annually on the paper, a situation that forced him to cut 115 people, or 20% of the newsroom.

“Since the acquisition of the Los Angeles Times, we have invested almost a billion dollars, underscoring our dedication to preserving its legacy and securing its future,” he said.

Written by:  and  @Bloomberg

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