After 18 years, the Los Angeles Times is back in local ownership.
Chicago-based Tronc Inc. announced it was selling the Times to Patrick Soon-Shiong, an LA billionaire and biotech entrepreneur, for more than $500 million. The deal also includes the Times's Spanish-language paper, Hoy, and the San Diego Union-Tribune. We asked nine prominent Southern Californians what they make of the deal, which comes after months of tumult at the newspaper.
Jessica Lall, President and CEO of the Central City Association
"I think it’s important to have an owner who is invested in the city, both personally and professionally. You just have a different understanding of what’s going on when you are walking the same streets, talking to residents, business leaders and civic leaders. You have a different take than when you are not here."
Robert Garcia, Mayor of Long Beach
"I’m cautiously optimistic. I’ve been very concerned about the media landscape in Southern California. I don’t love what [local newspapers] write all the time, but that’s the point. We need to have strong journalism to let people know what’s actually true. In this era of so much misinformation, we need organizations like the LA Times and other media groups to really double down on reporting to help people navigate what is actually factual information."
Andy Bales, CEO of the Union Rescue Mission
"I've got to be honest. My first thought was reassurance that some of my best allies like [reporters and columnists] Steve Lopez, Dakota Smith, Doug Smith and Gale Holland will continue to be allies in the battle against homelessness. I know they’ve landed in secure hands in Patrick Soon-Shiong. I know he has LA’s best interests in mind, and I know that he’s well resourced."
Andy Lipkis, Founder and President of TreePeople
"I was really excited. We haven’t had a locally owned paper in a very long time. There hasn’t been anyone at the core who loves LA. And this new owner loves LA."
Norberto Santana Jr., Publisher of the Voice of OC
"It’s a very important thing for the owner to be a person of color. The news industry is one of the least diverse industries anywhere, and that impacts coverage. And a person of color at the top understands that. You cannot adequately cover Southern California without understanding the diversity of all these communities."
Gary Toebben, President and CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
"He’s a very talented, smart entrepreneur. And I think he is the kind of person who has the opportunity to be successful as the owner of a newspaper. I tend to think that people who have done a really good job of creating new things will look at new ways of running old enterprises and find a way for that enterprise then to become more profitable."
Ann Burroughs, President and CEO of Japanese American National Museum
"I was very pleased there would be local ownership. One of the most important things for newspapers, besides the issue of journalistic integrity, is that high degree accountability to their leadership and the communities they serve. And in a city like LA that’s as diverse as it is, it’s a tall order. But it’s one that never the less they should live by."
Steve Soberoff, President of the Los Angeles Police Commission
"The idea of making the LA Times a paper that has resources to be able to do the kind of reporting that is common place in other great newspapers, like the New York Times or the Washington Post, LA needs that and deserves that. And so does journalism."
Ron Hartwig, Vice President of Communications for the J. Paul Getty Trust
"The criticism that’s offered by local cultural critics helps people to better understand what they’re likely to hear, or see, or experience in an art exhibition or a music performance. And coverage helps people to better understand the breath and the extent to which LA really has an incredibly cultural community and offerings."