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Austin Beutner on LA Times' expansion in Southern California

by AirTalk®

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The Los Angeles Times Building in downtown Los Angeles, California on July 10, 2013. LA Times parent company Tribune Publishing recently purchased the San Diego Union-Tribune for $85 million, uniting the newspapers of California’s two largest cities. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Los Angeles Times Publisher and CEO Austin Beutner has big plans for the LA Times. 

In recent months the LA Times has been expanding its coverage, reporting stories north of L.A. to as far down as San Diego. As part of its news expansion, LA Times' parent company Tribune Publishing recently purchased the San Diego Union-Tribune for $85 million, uniting the newspapers of California’s two largest cities. Beutner says the regional consolidation gives the LA Times “more scale, journalists, voices, and content to succeed digitally.” 

Having only held the position as publisher for less than a year, Beutner has been strategically working to make improvements to the company. His efforts have focused on community building, local reporting and revamping the newspaper’s online presence and coverage.

One concern is whether the LA Times will be able to maintain its individual voice as the organization takes over more papers in the region. Beutner said the LA Times will work with each newspaper’s editorial team to ensure that they inform and engage their community and customers. He says “our objective is to look for the diversity and to make sure we are bringing a broader range of opinion to our customers so that they are more informed and that they can make their own choice at the end of the day.”

Beutner would not comment on whether there are any further discussions of Tribune Publishing purchasing Press Enterprise or the Orange County Register, however he says “consolidation regionally is a bit like gravity. You look at the economies of being together in any region in the country in newspapers, and it’s quite compelling, so I think gravity over time wins out.”

Guest:

Austin Beutner, publisher of the Los Angeles Times

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