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Here’s how to help laid off journalists in Los Angeles

Last year, a Florida-based journalist built a guide to help her peers build mutual aid networks following layoffs. Now, a journalist in California is using it.

Los Angeles-based journalist Emily Elena Dugdale first started studying Kati Kokal’s guide a few weeks ago when some of the journalists at public radio station KCRW were laid off. After this week’s Los Angeles Times layoffs, she decided it was time to launch an LA mutual support network.

On Tuesday, Dugdale tweeted about what she intended to build. She was not expecting an immediate response.

“I think I have about $1,000 in my Venmo account right now just from people sending a little money here, a little money there.”

By Wednesday, Dugdale created a Google form for the emerging network, and she’ll share more on X as it gets built. The whole thing feels a little scary, she said, but she’s motivated to give people a way to show up for their peers.

“I honestly think the community of journalists is why I haven’t left this profession.”

Since starting to research how other industries deal with burnout, one of the things that has stuck with me is the impact of demoralization. You can see it at the Houston Landing, where a beloved top editor and investigative reporter were fired. You can see it in Baltimore, where The Baltimore Sun’s new owner suggested the Sun should be more like the local TV station. And you can see it in Los Angeles, where some of the brightest and most innovative journalists no longer have jobs at the LA Times.

One strategy for countering demoralization is building community. That’s what Kokal did when layoffs hit Gannett. That’s what the project she built (as part of the Poynter-Koch Media and Journalism Fellowship) guides others to do. And it’s what’s happening now in Los Angeles.

“This week has been heart-wrenching for journalism, and the effects of these layoffs will be felt far and wide in our communities, specifically communities of color,” Kokal said. “The single bright spot in all of this was seeing journalists step up to support each other. Although I wish we didn’t have to, that’s what journalism community aid is all about.”

A version of this originally ran in Local Edition, our newsletter devoted to local news and local journalists. You can subscribe here.

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