First female LA Times editor talks layoffs, losing journalists of color

LA Times gave layoff notices to around 120 journalists this week. The cuts particularly impacted recently hired journalists of color due to the paper’s seniority clause.

Amid significant layoffs affecting many young minority staff members, the Los Angeles Times has named the first female executive editor in its 142-year history. And Terry Tang, taking over as interim editor, says she’s aware of the turbulence she’s stepping into.

“It is a challenging time, but it is a challenging time for the entire journalistic industry,” Tang told NBC News in an interview. “I’m very excited about meeting this challenge.”

Tang has spent 4½ years at the paper, helming the opinion section. Before that, she was at The New York Times for 20 years, holding titles in both editorial and news. She’s taking over L.A. Times from Kevin Merida, who stepped down this month along with several other top editors.

Terry Tang.Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles TimesThis week, the paper gave layoff notices to around 120 journalists, a quarter of its staff. These cuts particularly affected recently hired journalists of color, who were hit by the Times’ seniority clause. 

“The company has reneged on its promises to diversify its ranks since young journalists of color have been disproportionately affected,” the L.A. Times Guild said in a statement  Tuesday. “The Black, AAPI, and Latino Caucuses have suffered devastating losses,” it said, using the acronym for Asian American and Pacific Islander.

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