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LA Times Curtails Print Edition Amid Recession, Falling Readership
The Los Angeles Times paid circulation figures have kept decreasing since the mid-1990s.

Long-time readers of the West Coast-based Los Angeles Times, the second-largest metropolitan daily newspaper in circulation in the United States, will find Monday morning a smaller and thinner edition on the doormat.

People who are interested in business news of the newspaper will be disappointed as the usual stand-alone business section no longer exist, and stories will be incorporated into a comprehensive format.

This is in response to the fact that the paper is consolidating its printing operations at its plant in the Los Angeles produce district, and is laying off 80 press operators after shuttering its Orange County satellite printing plant, the paper announced earlier this month.

The Los Angeles Times paid circulation figures have kept decreasing since the mid-1990s. Its readership has declined more than 30 percent recently. Some attribute the drop to the increasing availability of alternate methods of obtaining news, such as the Internet, cable TV or radio.

In January 2009, the LA Times increased its single copy price from 50 to 75 cents and the elimination of the separate California/Metro section, folding it into the front section of the newspaper. The book review, Sunday opinion section, real estate section, and other longstanding features have also been axed.

The most obvious change to readers will be the reduction in width of the printed page. The double-page paper stock will be trimmed by 4 inches (10 cm).

For the first time in decades, Monday's LA Times will be printed without a stand-alone business section. The newspaper's editors plan to sprinkle business news into the combined world/nation/state/local section each Monday. The sports section will continue to have its customary late deadlines each night, to enable coverage of games and scores, the Times said.

Deadlines for the main sections of the newspaper will be advanced about three hours earlier, to accommodate a 6 p.m. press run. Late-breaking news will be highlighted in a new section to be called LATExtra, which will be inserted into the main sections late each evening.

The LA Times is owned by the Tribune Company, which remains in bankruptcy protection while majority owner Sam Zell and the company's creditors and debt-holders battle over a restructuring plan.

Since Zell bought Tribune in April 2007, the Los Angeles Times has been struggling to deal with a heavy load of debt. The company has laid off 3,000 employees nationwide over the past few years.




 

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