You know what sucks? Not being paid for your hard work. You know what else sucks? LA Weekly recently obtained new ownership, and the new owners totally blow. They’ve fired their staff in favor of “unpaid contributors,” and things aren’t looking great for them.
Yesterday I got what will be my last check from #LAWeekly . The new owners announced that stories will now be written by unpaid “contributors.” This is apparently how you “save” journalism in LA. By asking writers to work for free. Fuck these clowns forever. pic.twitter.com/77KougjYpy
— Katie Bain (@bainofyrexstnce) December 2, 2017
Some might say that “all publicity is good publicity,” but this is definitely not good publicity. Semanal LLC, the mysterious company that formed last month in order to purchase the newspaper, closed their sale on Wednesday and promptly laid off nine of thirteen members of the editorial staff, shocking the industry. The secretive new owners have still not revealed their identity, and on Thursday, the Society of Professional Journalists condemned the company’s continued anonymity.
I’m still shell shocked after yesterday’s incomprehensible, daringly dumb, “let’s be legends” layoffs, but thank you for all kind words and notes. It was an honor to write for this storied publication. To be a footnote in its history is a dream come true. Farewell, old pal. RIP pic.twitter.com/Fdf11nj92g
— April Wolfe (@AWolfeful) November 30, 2017
“In an era of rampant misinformation and distrust, it’s especially important that we do not allow the owners and backers of news organizations to remain a mystery,” said Andrew Seaman, chairman of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Ethics Committee. “We cannot allow this to become the norm.”
We were expecting there to be some pain with the sale of @LAWeekly. But we weren’t expecting the Red Wedding. That’s how deep the cuts are. 1/
— Mara Shalhoup (@mshalhoup) November 29, 2017
Even more suspicious, LA Weekly posted a story on the site suggesting readers should question its new ownership.
Humbled by all the kind words coming my way and to all my amazing colleagues at LA Weekly. Thanks to everyone who took the time to read us. Keep supporting independent journalism. We need it more than ever.
— Andy Hermann (@AndyHermannLA) November 30, 2017
Attempts to uncover information about Semanal LLC have returned very limited information. David Welch, a Southern California lawyer known for suing unlicensed cannabis dispensaries, is listed as the registered agent while Brian Calle, chief opinion writer for Southern California News Group will take over editorial management of the site, despite OC Weekly, LA Weekly‘s sister site, naming Calle one of “Orange County’s Scariest People of 2016”.
That’s not comforting.
Featured Image Via The Wrap.