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Facing ‘Immediate Layoffs,’ L.A. TACO Launches Membership Drive to Save Our Publication

After Sunday, we do not have enough money to make another payroll. We need 5,000 members to become sustainable. Our deadline is April 26th to hit this goal.

Sign up here for a yearly L.A. TACO membership today or make a donation to save our publication and keep independent journalism alive in Los Angeles.

Yesterday, we made the tough decision to furlough our tiny team—Hadley Tomicki, Memo Torres, Lexis-Olivier Ray, and Janette Villafana—until further notice, effective this Monday. After Sunday, we do not have enough money to make another payroll.

How did we get here?

We entered 2024 with a lot of hope but were unable to grow our membership program to a substantial amount or re-sign our largest advertiser in time. We got through the tough times, mostly through sponsorship, which has dried up. We’ve doubled in size (from our Editor-in-chief position to adding three more positions) in the past couple of years but have not grown our membership program.

There are other outside factors, like general consumer patterns, leaning towards scrolling through influencer-style videos rather than reading articles. Google's A.I., which pulls information for its self-generated responses from news organizations without linking back, had something to do with it, too. These two factors essentially destroyed journalism's business model overnight. Sponsored content and ads have also been at an all-time low.

We made a decision a long time ago to embrace true journalism and to tackle city issues fearlessly. "Stick to tacos" is an easier way to get advertisers not interested in journalism, but we see a need to produce more than just food content. That's why we focus on our members, who care about this city and trust us to cover it.

What does this mean?

L.A. TACO is in danger of permanently shutting down and ceasing to function as the James Beard Award-winning publication known for our inclusive street-level food, news, and culture stories. Since we are furloughing our core staff, we will be running the site with minimal to no stories or videos to focus all of our energy on this membership drive.

What do we need?

The L.A. TACO team faces layoffs if we do not reach 5,000 members by Friday, April 26th, 2024. Our site has different membership tiers, but the one that helps us the most is our annual $99 Founders level. We also have merch and one-time donation options available. We hate asking for money, but it’s better than giving up. If you’ve benefitted from our reporting in any way, whether by inspiring you via our profiles of the hard-working people of L.A., helping you find your favorite taco, or keeping a person in power in your ‘hood accountable via our investigative reporting. Right now is the perfect time to support us and ensure we stick around. We currently have 2,000 members and need a total of 5,000 members to become sustainable.

What are we doing to meet this goal?

We are exhausting our networks and sounding the alarms. We are reaching out to all businesses and people for help. We are evolving with journalism standards and adapting more videos to make sure we stay relevant and continue to bring you all the stories you love.

Thank you for your support, and we hope to see you all on the other side of this.

Become a member here.

Buy our merch here.

Donate directly here.

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