Statement on Southern California News Group Layoffs

For Immediate Release
Jan. 31, 2018

Stephanie Bluestein
SPJ/LA President

On behalf of the board of directors of the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, I want to express my sadness, frustration and dismay at news of widespread layoffs of reporters, editors and photographers at newspapers under the Southern California News Group umbrella.

These 11 intensely local newspapers cover communities stretching from the San Fernando Valley to San Bernardino and Orange County. Even before these layoffs, their coverage had been reduced significantly. After this latest round of cuts, we fear they will be forced to scale back even further, eliminating much-needed coverage of their elected representatives and local government agencies.

Their role as watchdog is being stripped away.

What is happening at the Southern California News Group should be a cause for alarm for anyone who values our civic culture. People often complain about unresponsive, unaccountable local government and vanishing local news is a large part of why this is able to occur.

We urge the public to show their support for journalists by subscribing to their local newspaper, and push for the kind of newsgathering they want to see.

The Society of Professional Journalists maintains that an informed public is the foundation of democracy. This is what is at stake when we no longer have a robust staff of journalists and photographers reporting on our communities and cities.

Stephanie Bluestein
President, Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists

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