With the news of the Los Angeles Times restructuring, Japanese media are worried about the future of their coverage of Shohei Ohtani (29-LA Dodgers).
Japanese media outlet “Full Count” reported on the 26th that, “The Los Angeles Times’ plans for large-scale personnel cuts have been revealed and are causing waves. The paper is expected to lay off at least 115 people.”
“Among them are Sarah Valenzuela, who has been covering the Angels and Ohtani, and Jack Harris, who has been covering the Dodgers. According to multiple sources, it’s unclear what will happen to their coverage of the Dodgers this season.”
The Los Angeles Times announced today that it has laid off at least 115 people, or 20 percent of its newsroom. It is the largest staff reduction in the newsroom’s 142-year history.”
“The move came as the newspaper was expected to lose money for another year,” the Times reported, noting that “(LA Times) owner Patrick Sundsion said it was necessary because ‘we can no longer continue to lose $30 million, $40 million a year to keep the organization afloat without making progress in advertising and driving more subscriptions.'”
“Radical changes were necessary, including the appointment of a new leader who will focus on strengthening the organization’s journalism,” Sun Xiong said. “Today’s decision is painful for everyone, but it was necessary to create a sustainable and thriving newspaper for the next generation. We are committed to doing so.”
“Since taking over the L.A. Times, Soon-Siong has ushered in an era of growth and hiring. He reversed more than a decade of cuts and weakened journalism,” but “severe economic headwinds have hampered the paper’s performance, as the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out more than $60 million in ad revenue almost overnight.”
The reason the Japanese media is so interested in the Los Angeles paper’s restructuring is because the Dodgers have Ohtani.
Ohtani made his major league debut in 2018 with the Los Angeles Angels, going 38-19 with a 3.01 ERA in 86 games as a pitcher and a .922 OPS with 171 home runs, 437 RBIs in 716 games as a hitter.
In 2021, he appeared in 158 games as a designated hitter, batting .257 with 46 homers, 100 RBIs and a .592 OPS. Last year, he underwent right elbow surgery in September and did not finish the season as a pitcher. Still, he batted .654 with 44 homers, 95 RBIs and a .654 on-base percentage in 135 games.
He also won the home run title last year, earning his second unanimous MVP award in 2021. As a Japanese player who has become a “two-hitting” star in the American Major League, there is bound to be a lot of interest in Ohtani.
He signed a massive 10-year, $700 million (approx. KRW 92 billion) contract with the Dodgers, but the influential local newspaper restructured and the reporter covering the Dodgers was fired.