At Least 528 News Media Jobs Were Lost in January, Study Finds

At least 528 news media jobs were lost in January due to brutal start-of-the-year layoffs, with the media sector as a whole losing at least 836, according to a new report by Challenger, Grey & Christmas.

The report, published Thursday, only tracks job losses in January 2024 and as a result doesn’t include the 300 employees of The Messenger, who were abruptly let go on Feb. 1 when the 8-month old site shuttered and its website was pulled down completely.

Among the hardest hit newsrooms in January was the Los Angeles Times, which eliminated at least 115 jobs on Jan. 25, approximately 20% of the staff and disproportionately affecting the paper’s employees of color. And that’s on top of a talent drain that saw 6 editors of color leave LA Times in January.

These cuts were part of a larger wave of layoffs hitting U.S.-based companies in various industries. According to Challenger, hardest hit was finance, which saw 23,238 people laid off in January, the highest total since 2018. The technology sector came out slightly better with 15,806 cuts, though that marked a 254% increase over losses in December, 2023. Food service and retail also saw less extensive layoffs.

According to the Challenger report, the most frequent justification for the layoffs across all industries was various forms of “restructuring” — that applies to 28,329 of the jobs that were killed. Another 14,555 jobs were lost because of businesses that shut down entirely.

But so-called “artificial intelligence” technology also played a role, according to Challenger. 381 people lost jobs in January in cuts that were tied to “AI” — but 4,628 jobs total have been eliminated in the 9 months since the first time the technology was cited as a cause, “either because the companies were pivoting to developing it or because it replaced tasks and roles,” the study said.

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