Patterico's Pontifications

10/20/2012

L.A. Times’s Editors Heads Set to Explode

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:31 pm

You thought they bitched a lot about Sam Zell? Wait until their paper is owned by Rupert Murdoch:

With Tribune Co. expected to emerge from bankruptcy soon, News Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch is looking to acquire two of its trophy properties — the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune.

I hope I hope I hope this happens. The comedy that would ensue from the resultant wailing and rending of garments would provide me with blog material for years to come.

Thanks to Kevin M. and ropelight for reminding me to post on this.

UPDATE: DRJ notes in comments that NewsCorp is denying the story.

Rats.

78 Responses to “L.A. Times’s Editors Heads Set to Explode”

  1. Please please let it happen.

    Patterico (117473)

  2. I’ll be sticking so hankies in the mail for the editors, when I get around to it.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  3. some

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  4. It would be great but NewsCorp denies the report. My guess is the folks at the LA Times used this rumor to scare up more liberal bidders and/or bigger bid. After all, it’s their paychecks at stake.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  5. why would anyone want to by a red ink producer like the Slimes?

    but yeah, the idea makes me smile.

    redc1c4 (403dff)

  6. Sock Puppeteer Michael Hiltzik would have a stroke. Now Murdoch does not oftn interfere with the editorial processes in his media properties. But just this once, I’d like to see him dropkick Hiltzik out on the street.

    Comanche Voter (29e1a6)

  7. Cue nk for the classical view of Divine and Appropriate Punishment.

    Simon Jester (72c2e8)

  8. If Murdoch becomes owner, does he get possession of the Khalidi tape?

    Icy (f0cfbd)

  9. I don’t know anything about the legalities of the current Tribune Corp. bankruptcy sale, but the siblinghood of the LA Times and the Chicago Tribune has been bizarre. The dog trainer is, well, the dog trainer. And the ChiTrib going back over 150 years has always been the “Republican” paper in town. Under Zell the editorial side of the ChiTrib has remained mostly right leaning–but the news stories, many of which are shared with LA Times and vice versa, have been noticeably more left leaning both in affect and in subject matter. I’m sure that they’ve been trying to take advantage of economies of scale and fewer reporters to pay.

    What I’m getting at is I wonder if both papers will be bought by the same person or if they will be allowed to go their separate ways to different owners.

    elissa (0cad09)

  10. I’ve often thought, what could make me happier than seeing the LAT die?

    Now I know!

    Patricia (e1d89d)

  11. Oh God, I hope they change the format from a broadsheet to a tabloid. That would be just awesome!

    JVW (f5695c)

  12. The article that P. linked to also mentions that Doug Manchester of San Diego might be interested in buying the paper. He is a notable conservative too, so his ownership might be just as awesome as Murdoch’s ownership.

    JVW (f5695c)

  13. Gee, if either sale goes through (Manchester or Murdoch), it might eliminate the need for the Dog Trainer Year in Review… I’d miss the laughs.

    Dana (292dcf)

  14. This would be closer to the Socratic ideal, Simoon, where the “punishment” makes the criminal a better person.

    nk (875f57)

  15. There really isn’t enough material, for an explosion,

    narciso (ee31f1)

  16. Yayyy for the Dirty Digger !

    “I approve of this message” to the LATimes Editorial Staff !

    Alasdair (2cd241)

  17. I’ve often thought, what could make me happier than seeing the LAT die?

    They have been the walking dead for some time now. They just didn’t know it, Patricia.

    Colonel Haiku (5e7be8)

  18. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys.

    Dirty Old Man (a38f71)

  19. Their first Bold Headline should read “Never Mind” by guest columnist Emily Litella.

    dfbaskwill (c021f2)

  20. Doug Manchester is the current owner/publisher of the San Diego Union-Tribune -
    and there was great caterwauling over that within Leftist circles.

    AD-Restore the Republic/Obama Sucks! (2bb434)

  21. What happens when matter and anti-matter mix?

    quasimodo (2be4c3)

  22. I want to see Rupert buy the NYT for a buck.

    Media Mutters (721840)

  23. To the newsies, this is no joke;
    The Times is gonna go broke
    I can hear them say,
    “Someone save the day!”
    But Murdock? They’d all have a stroke.

    The Limerick Avenger (f68855)

  24. Tick tock, tick tock, goes the clock
    Times bankruptcy, Patterico will mock
    With only one chance
    Rupert’s the man!
    They fret, “Will we become Fox?”

    The Limerick Avenger (f68855)

  25. If Rupert Murdock does by out the Times, will the female reporters all be required to wear miniskirts and f(ornicate) me heels?

    The sexist pig Dana (f68855)

  26. In a way, it makes good business sense. Since LA has beach weather almost year round, the reporterettes can work on their tans naturally, so Mr Murdock will be able to reduce his leg bronzer expenses.

    The economist Dana (f68855)

  27. I don’t want to see the LA Times die. I want to see it turned and used for good.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  28. Comanche Voter,

    Before I even read your comment, I was making a mental list of LA Times “journalists” I’d like to see get the pink slip, and Hiltzik was at the top of my list !

    I vividly recall the sockpuppet episode he was involved in, when he took shots at Mary Katharine Ham (who was blogging at Hugh Hewitt’s blog, as a run-up to the unveiling of Salem’s transformed Townhall.com blog).
    Then, when people started challenging Hiltzik on his LA Times blog about his attacks on Ham, he attempted to defend himself by pretending to be “Joe in Burbank,” or “Suzie in Thousand Oaks,” etc.

    The Times found out what he was doing, and canceled his blog, and suspended him for a while.

    Good times.

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  29. And yet, deny is exactly what you’d do if you were Murdoch at the last stages of striking your deal (subject to court approval). That’s honest enough: Nothing’s agreed until everything (or at least everything really important) is agreed.

    Beldar (1bf096)

  30. My question is really why NewsCorp or anyone else would want to make a discretionary investment in California these days. (No slur intended upon the worthy and besieged minority of Californians who’ve done their best to oppose its current public trends.)

    Beldar (1bf096)

  31. If neither Murdoch nor Manchester buys the Times, I wonder if Richard Riordan can put together a group of conservatives who’d be interested in buying the Times. I remember several years ago, he was publicly considering starting up a paper for the LA metro area.
    On the other hand, as much as I loathe the left wing Times, I wonder if it wouldn’t just be a better investment for a Riordan or a Murdoch or a Manchester to just invest in creating an online daily news “paper” for Los Angeles.

    Printed dailies are in such trouble. Even the Hollywood daily trade papers have seen their daily subscriptions plummet, since everyone in the industry seems to prefer to read showbiz news online.

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  32. Well, if someone can obtain the LAT for $1 (along with assumption of the paper’s current debt), that might be less expensive than trying to start up a paper from scratch. When Sidney Harman bought Newsweek for $1, I thought it was a smart move. The mistake they made was instead of toning down Newsweek’s aggressive liberalism they turned the magazine into an Obama fanzine and hoped to get a bunch of liberal subscribers. I think one take-away lesson from that fiasco is that liberals don’t like to pay for stuff, so targeting them as a revenue source ain’t a great idea.

    I cancelled by LAT subscription in 2004 or 2005. If a conservative owner were to become publisher and tone down some of the really obnoxious liberalism (e.g., goodbye to Hiltzik, half the editorial board, Tim Rutten if he is still around, and the idiot that does Top of the Ticket), then I would consider reviving my daily subscription.

    JVW (f5695c)

  33. Beldar, a center-right LA Times could change the politics of the state over time. According to Buffet, you buy when everyone is screaming “sell.”

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  34. Be better if all the dailies simply closed.

    The best thing is for thousand of liberals employed at these propaganda organizations (and future liberals in Jorno School) are denied jobs in industries who seem to further their cause.

    Plus I hear IN-n-OUT is hiring fry cooks and cashiers. Be nice if someone there could understand my orders.

    Rodney King's Spirit (9ce6d4)

  35. JVW–

    They’d have to get rid of Horowitz, too. The LA Times anti-business page is a microcosm of the California business climate.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  36. don’t forget Robert Hilburn

    Colonel Haiku (5e7be8)

  37. Hilzik, you mean, who would misrepresent his own book, to score a debating point,

    narciso (ee31f1)

  38. don’t forget Robert Hilburn…

    Is he still alive?

    AD-Restore the Republic/Obama Sucks! (2bb434)

  39. I highly recommend watching the marvelous interview of Andrew Malcolm by Nick Gillespie regarding the LAT, new media and the struggle to find its (LAT/new media) its footing in this technologically driven new world.

    Malcolm mentions how in his years since j-school (1962), he has loved learning something new everyday in journalism. In his time at the LAT, it was clear that most there were not interested in learning something new but rather counted on being in the same meeting at the same time every day.

    He also discusses the challenges of being at a paper like the LAT, bias/no bias.

    Dana (292dcf)

  40. alive and wearing his Springsteen kneepads!

    Colonel Haiku (5e7be8)

  41. I’d love to see Kenneth Turan and Patrick Goldstein and Tim Rutten get the pink slip.

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  42. …and George Skelton!

    AD-Restore the Republic/Obama Sucks! (2bb434)

  43. I wonder if this rumor has caused the destruction or concealment of a certain tape the LA Times possesses ….
    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/in-wake-of-secret-romney-vid-los-angeles-times-reaffirms-it-will-not-publish-mysterious-obama-recording/

    Publius (49f635)

  44. ____________________________________________

    If a conservative owner were to become publisher and tone down some of the really obnoxious liberalism (e.g., goodbye to Hiltzik, half the editorial board, Tim Rutten if he is still around, and the idiot that does Top of the Ticket), then I would consider reviving my daily subscription

    I could tolerate the liberal columnists in the paper if it also had some right-leaning writers, or, as was the case awhile back, cartoonists like Michael Ramirez. The latter, due to his skill and because of the nature of a picture saying a million words (meaning effective, skilled and very clever artwork), all by himself created some balance against the high-profile leftist dweebs at the LA Times.

    As for the assumption that a conservative owner will necessarily insert some sanity into an otherwise liberal rag, it must be noted that during the time that right-leaning Sam Zell owned the LA Times, it remained as in-the-tank-liberal as ever before, if not more so.

    But whether the LA Times is owned by a tycoon of the left (eg, Eli Broad), center (eg, Richard Riordan) or squishy right (eg, Rupert Murdoch), it will be operating in a city of increasingly non-English-speaking, lower-income people. IOW, the LA Times’ potential in the future is down, down, down, no matter what.

    Mark (d703a0)

  45. Be better if all the dailies simply closed.

    Uh, some of us work at these dailies and want to see them improved, not destroyed.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (fac6d9)

  46. The last thing Murdoch wants is another paper. And the Feds wouldn’t let it happen under current cross ownership rules. News Corp (Murdoch) would have to give up its TV station in LA, which it isn’t about to do.

    Zell’s problem is nobody wants a money losing LA Times. The Chandlers were smart to sell when htey did.

    Corky Boyd (c2186d)

  47. The last thing Murdoch wants is another paper. And the Feds wouldn’t let it happen under current cross ownership rules. News Corp (Murdoch) would have to give up its TV station in LA, which it isn’t about to do.

    Not so. Currently, Tribune has a waiver; they own KTLA 5 as well as the Times. Since the FCC is likely to abandon the rule soon anyway, it is unlikely that Murdoch would have to divest. Or at least not divest both of his LA stations. He might have to dump KCOP 13, but who cares?

    And of course, it will matter greatly who is President next year.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  48. Also, if he splits his newspapers into a separate company the rule might not even apply.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  49. Regarding that large minority, and non-English speaking population, perhaps Mr. Slim will buy it; and with the increasing Hispanic population in Greater Chicago, the Tribune too.

    AD-Restore the Republic/Obama Sucks! (2bb434)

  50. Mr Stone wrote:

    If neither Murdoch nor Manchester buys the Times, I wonder if Richard Riordan can put together a group of conservatives who’d be interested in buying the Times. I remember several years ago, he was publicly considering starting up a paper for the LA metro area.

    While they weren’t conservatives, a group of local businessmen bought out The Philadelphia Inquirer when McClatchy (which acquired the Philadelphia papers when they bought out Knight-Ridder) in 2006; by early 2009, the group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and the papers were again sold, this time at court auction, to the newspapers’ creditors. It didn’t work in Philly, and there’s no particular reason to think things could be turned around anywhere else.

    The sad fact is that print newspapers are still 18th century technology; the news is already six or more hours dated by the time you get your hands on it. And our host’s frequent linking to Times’ stories proves the problem: you can read that newspaper, and really any newspaper, online, for free, complete with the updates to the stories.

    The Dana in Pennsylvania (f68855)

  51. JVW wrote:

    When Sidney Harman bought Newsweek for $1, I thought it was a smart move. The mistake they made was instead of toning down Newsweek’s aggressive liberalism they turned the magazine into an Obama fanzine and hoped to get a bunch of liberal subscribers. I think one take-away lesson from that fiasco is that liberals don’t like to pay for stuff, so targeting them as a revenue source ain’t a great idea.

    It isn’t Newsweek’s political slant that is the problem, but the medium itself. Thirty years ago, there was no internet, and our news came from print, radio and television, print being the only medium which had the time and space to go into any depth, and Newsweek helped fill the niche for stories in depth, especially for consumers outside of areas served by the major newspapers of record; the mid-sized newspapers that most people got were pretty sparse on that kind of thing due to space.

    But if newspapers were six hours behind events, weekly news magazines were days behind events; there is nothing you can find in Newsweek that you cannot find, in just as developed a form, but right up to the minute, for free, on the internet. The medium and business model themselves are doomed, regardless of politics.

    The economist Dana (f68855)

  52. Murdock won’t buy the Times
    The investment would be a crime.
    The books are cooked funny,
    And it loses money,
    And Rupert won’t waste a dime.

    The Limerick Avenger (f68855)

  53. The esteemed Brother Fikes wrote:

    Be better if all the dailies simply closed.

    Uh, some of us work at these dailies and want to see them improved, not destroyed.

    OK, then, be realistic: how can daily print newspapers be improved and made profitable — or just break even — in this technological climate?

    The realistic Dana (f68855)

  54. R.I.P. George McGovern

    Chuck Bartowski (ad7249)

  55. Kevin
    Not so. Currently, Tribune has a waiver; they own KTLA 5 as well as the Times

    This waiver was granted to Zell in the last days of the Bush administration. Any new owner would have to apply for another. Part of the reason the Zell purchase was rushed through before Obama took office was he thought a Democratic run FCC would kill the deal. One of the rallying cries of Democratic politics is the concentration of media ownership.

    Of course that all could change in the coming weeks.

    Corky Boyd (c2186d)

  56. The Dana in Philadelphia,

    We’re in agreement, that’s why I also hypothesized if it wouldn’t be more viable for Riordan, etc., to merely invest in developing a new online “paper,” rather than purchasing the dead trees kind.
    As I mentioned, The Hollywood dailies (print editions) are getting killed by online content.

    However, I can sort of see where there will probably still be a market for the Sunday edition or weekend edition of printed newspapers…it’s an American tradition to lay around the house on a lazy Sunday reading the Book Review, Arts section, and the in-depth features that are commonly found in the Sunday paper, not to mention the adverts and coupons for groceries and other retailers.
    On the other hand, I wonder if it’s a big enough “tradition” to sustain the overhead costs of the infrastructure and distribution in order to continue providing that, if in fact, most daily papers were to cease daily production in favor of online content, with the exception of the weekend print copy.

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  57. We, and now my favorite wife still, only got the Sunday edition of NYT. It is wired to the Chicago Tribune, which prints it and delivers it within the metropolitan area. I do not know that NYT is losing money from the Sunday edition, and I know that the Tribune is not losing money from the contract.

    nk (875f57)

  58. Dick “Illinois Democrat scumbag” Durbin, on Benghazi:
    “It is always easier the day after to say you could have won that football game.”

    Icy (ffe6c8)

  59. Sunday’s LA Times:

    Endorsement for ……. Obama!

    AZ Bob (1c9631)

  60. Wow… didn’t see THAT one coming, AZ!

    Colonel Haiku (58a9e0)

  61. So did the LA Times give any, like, rational reasons in their endorsement for why President not-optimal deserves a second chance? Just asking.

    elissa (629465)

  62. OK, then, be realistic: how can daily print newspapers be improved and made profitable — or just break even — in this technological climate?

    Oh Realistic Dana, online is part of the solution. There’s still a place for print, but dailies have to make online a core emphasis, not just something to do after the print articles have been written. Most newspapers are not there. They talk about putting the Web first, but in practice don’t.

    Hugh Hewitt wrote a great piece on what the LA Times (and newspapers in general) need to do with the Web.

    Put your best talent in the service of the new medium. Instruct them to pound it out and turn it into editors for a brisk and quick review and then push it out there on to the web. The sole advantage a “news organization” has right now are resources for the production of content. . .

    If the Times had ten to fifteen continually updated and bylined blogs by their best reporters, I’d be checking those blogs repeatedly during the day. There are five tool reporters on the staffs of every newspaper, but they are being played every third day instead of three or four times a day. Use them. Inform and entertain us!

    Hewitt wrote this in 2007. It still rings true today.

    U-T San Diego (where I now work covering biotech) does focus on the Web. The reporters also have at-will access to detailed Web analytics about their online readership. So instead flying blind, reporters have a guide to how well they’re connecting with their audience.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (aa9677)

  63. Realistic Dana,
    As for the print side, I think your semi-namesake had the right insight in a previous post — the print edition needs to be a must-read. Print still has the edge in convenience, and a good article is a good article in any medium.

    A non-journalistic problem with today’s newspapers is the circulation department. We used to have paperboys (I was one) and papergirls. These kids lived in the community and represented a personal connection with the newspaper. Today, the carriers are adults, who are more known for getting the paper in the wrong place, or without a plastic cover when it’s wet. That weakened the emotional tie many had with “their” newspaper.

    And finally, out-of-town ownership of newspapers by publicly traded companies has also had its costs in weakening that emotional tie to the local newspaper. And in the LA Times’ case, the futile attempt to be a West Coast New York Times has also weakened the paper’s focus.

    As Hewitt wrote:

    When it comes to “opinion,” publish most of the paper’s commentary from writers inside of zip codes in which you deliver. Drop the anonymous pulse-killers of the unsigned editorials. Give them bylines or let them go. And please, no more out-of-state professors. The national writers publish on national forums, but the local voices need the exposure and bring with them local audiences. Obscure academics from faraway cities don’t need –and local readers don’t want—a chance to impress on the west coast. In Los Angeles there are hundreds of talented writers the papers routinely ignore. Why?

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (aa9677)

  64. Do we have any commercial real estate developers among us ?

    It’d be roguish if one were to make a serious inquiry of the Times about the specs of their buildings over on Spring Street.
    It would elicit a spokesperson at the Times to reply, “Why are you inquiring about the specs of our buildings ?”

    And the answer would be, “We’re always anticipating which commercial properties might become available in the foreseeable future.”

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  65. Brother Bradley says “We used to have paperboys (I was one) and papergirls. These kids lived in the community and represented a personal connection with the newspaper. Today, the carriers are adults, who are more known for getting the paper in the wrong place, or without a plastic cover when it’s wet. That weakened the emotional tie many had with “their” newspaper.

    This is one of many byproducts of the increased regulatory burden in recent decades of hiring youngsters under 18. Its destroyed a path for the young to learn responsibility and work ethic.

    SPQR (768505)

  66. At the top of his page, Drudge currently has a collage of various times that Obama has bowed to foreign heads of state.
    Beneath it, merely the words, “Foreign policy.”

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  67. Mr Stone wrote:

    However, I can sort of see where there will probably still be a market for the Sunday edition or weekend edition of printed newspapers…it’s an American tradition to lay around the house on a lazy Sunday reading the Book Review, Arts section, and the in-depth features that are commonly found in the Sunday paper, not to mention the adverts and coupons for groceries and other retailers.

    OK, an American tradition for whom? that’s a big part of the problem: it’s an American tradition for older people, for people who are dying off and not being replaced by a younger generation of consumers.

    The morbid Dana (f68855)

  68. Brother Bradley says “We used to have paperboys (I was one) and papergirls. These kids lived in the community and represented a personal connection with the newspaper. Today, the carriers are adults, who are more known for getting the paper in the wrong place, or without a plastic cover when it’s wet. That weakened the emotional tie many had with “their” newspaper.”

    This is one of many byproducts of the increased regulatory burden in recent decades of hiring youngsters under 18. Its destroyed a path for the young to learn responsibility and work ethic.

    I think the switch from youngsters delivering papers to adults was more due to the papers trying to get out early-morning editions and eschewing afternoon delivery. With the delivery people having to get the papers to the door by 6 am, that meant a 3 am starting time and always involved a car, rather than a bike. The change in the market made the young paperboys obsolete

    Chuck Bartowski (ad7249)

  69. Brother Fikes wrote:

    Print still has the edge in convenience,

    It does? Maybe it does for the crossword puzzle, but unless a newspaper’s website is poorly designed (The Philadelphia Inquirer’s would be a good example of a very poorly designed site) there is no particular reason to say that print is more convenient. It may be more portable, but it also leaves your fingers with newsprint black on them and your trashcan recycling bin fuller, and that’s after taking up space on your coffee table.

    I can see a move to a Tablet delivery system, which makes things just as portable, and I’d guess that a daily newspaper could provide a tablet for every subscriber for less money than it costs to deliver the print edition. They’d still have to figure out a way to get the advertising in, in a way where the readers would actually see it without getting pissed off by it.

    The business-savvy Dana (f68855)

  70. Take a look at this review, the writer forgets who the character is from the first paragraph, or even if he knows it

    http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/20121021_More_Tom_Wolfe_characters_under_social_pressure__this_time_in_Miami.html.

    narciso (ee31f1)

  71. B-SD,

    Print has the advantage of cheapness (to the reader). If you leave the print edition behind in a cafe, no biggie.

    That said, I do almost all my news reading online, and only recently got a hybrid newspaper subscription (online with Sunday print).

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (aa9677)

  72. I aympathize, my fishwrap is rarely good only for fisking;

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/10/21/truth-behind-the-benghazi-attack.html

    narciso (ee31f1)

  73. Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. — 10/22/2012 @ 6:17 am

    I agree. Advantage of cheapness. Subway stand. Convenience store. Momentary investment. $0.50 to $3.00, from time to time. Instead of an $800.00 iPad and $60.00 to $100.00 per month contract for online service.

    nk (875f57)

  74. When I was young we could buy single cigarettes for two cents if we did not have the forty cents for a pack. Now, not everybody has a $1,000.00 in his pocket for a tablet and an online account.

    nk (875f57)

  75. Maybe I’ll keep my Trib script for a few more weeks. THis could get good.

    Daisy (9d7c7e)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.3180 secs.