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Dot LA lays off entire newsroom, will refocus on newsletters

Seven employees are among the affected workers who received pink slips at the startup-focused publication.

Seven employees are among the affected workers who received pink slips at the startup-focused publication.

The logo of tech website Dot.LA. (Courtesy image)
The logo of tech website Dot.LA. (Courtesy image)

Business and culture website Dot LA laid off its entire editorial staff of seven journalists on Monday as the publication shifts toward focusing on its newsletter products.

The layoffs were first confirmed in a post on Twitter by Samson Amore, who was one of the reporters affected by the job cuts. Others who were impacted include David Shultz and Andria Moore.

In a memo sent to those who remained, Dot LA CEO Sam Adams said he is “stepping back from my day-to-day role” as the website’s chief executive in order to “focus on a new venture” involving artificial intelligence.

“This decision wasn’t made lightly, but I believe it is the right one for both me, personally, and for the future of Dot LA,” Adams wrote, adding that he intends to “remain involved in a strategic capacity.”

Dot LA was launched in January 2020 — just two months before the global health pandemic — and promised coverage of Southern California’s innovation economy, with a specific focus on entrepreneurs involved in clean technology, media, digital platforms and traditional blue chip companies.

The website pledged to connect readers to the movers and shakers who were responsible for an economy worth over $10 billion annually, and whose stories often flew under the radar thanks in large part to geography.

A pitch deck for Dot LA assembled last year claimed the website had more than 125,000 email subscribers and reached over 1.2 million readers every month. It also claimed to have 12 million monthly social media impressions. Its Twitter feed had 26,400 followers as of Monday evening; another 26,900 followed the brand on Facebook, while just under 8,500 were connected to it on LinkedIn.

Amore pointed out that, while the website has aspirations to convert to a regular newsletter publication, it wasn’t immediately clear who will write that content since the brand effectively has no remaining reporters.

“Housing insecurity is a real risk for me right now as a result of this closure,” Amore wrote. “I’m sure the majority of the staff is in a similar position. And it’s devastating to see my friends and colleagues across the media in the same boat.”

Corporate media has been beleaguered by a downturn in the advertising market brought on by the lingering effects of the pandemic and other macroeconomic issues over much of the last year. The layoffs at Dot LA follow a similar trend at Vice News, the Walt Disney Company’s ABC News, Paramount Global’s CBS News, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Warner Bros Discovery’s CNN and other newsrooms big and small.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).