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Exec’s talk fuels more rumors of Union-Tribune's doom

"We lost tens of millions of dollars in advertising revenue pretty much instantly in March 2020"

Chris Argentieri: "We are still operating with great uncertainty."
Chris Argentieri: "We are still operating with great uncertainty."

A widely anticipated "all hands" California Times staff meeting on Thursday failed to produce any good news other than a declaration by president Chris Argentieri that the Los Angeles Times was closer to the end of its long search for a new top editor.

But Argentieri added that the firm was trying to cope with a "catastrophic drop in revenue for the company, north of $50 million on top of a business that was already using cash and not producing cash," per a March 25 account by The Wrap

Besides the L.A. Times, California Times owns the San Diego Union-Tribune. The long delay in choosing a new Times chief has fueled growing speculation that C.T.’s owner, L.A. billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, will unload both papers to controversial vulture investor Alden Global Capital.

"What we saw in 2020, was [an] acceleration of trends that we were well aware of and have been aware of, really, for far more than a decade," Argentieri said. "We won't go back, particularly in print advertising, to where we were."

"We lost tens of millions of dollars in advertising revenue pretty much instantly in March 2020, and the pandemic continues to take a toll on the public health and take a toll economically," Argentieri said.

"We are still operating with great uncertainty."

"I can understand why some may feel that it's been a slow process, a drawn-out process. I don't really view it that way," Argentieri told the employees regarding the unfilled L.A spot, according to another of The Wrap's accounts of the March 25 get-together.

"I don't think our owners view it as a rush. We want to get it right. I think everybody benefits from that." He went on to question speculation by outside observers regarding prospective editors.

"A number of esteemed journalism organizations that have reported on names and candidates and top candidates and people withdrawing and all of those things, it's been quite far from being rooted in anything approaching reality. But that is what it is," he said, per the account.

"We're making progress. I think we're getting close. We will obviously let everybody know as soon as the decisions been made, but it has not at this point."

Times' owner, Patrick Soon-Shiong, who two weeks ago told newspaper business analyst Rick Edmunds that he was "very early in the process of selecting the best candidate and I am confident we will do so," did not appear at the meeting, according to the reports.

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Chris Argentieri: "We are still operating with great uncertainty."
Chris Argentieri: "We are still operating with great uncertainty."

A widely anticipated "all hands" California Times staff meeting on Thursday failed to produce any good news other than a declaration by president Chris Argentieri that the Los Angeles Times was closer to the end of its long search for a new top editor.

But Argentieri added that the firm was trying to cope with a "catastrophic drop in revenue for the company, north of $50 million on top of a business that was already using cash and not producing cash," per a March 25 account by The Wrap

Besides the L.A. Times, California Times owns the San Diego Union-Tribune. The long delay in choosing a new Times chief has fueled growing speculation that C.T.’s owner, L.A. billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, will unload both papers to controversial vulture investor Alden Global Capital.

"What we saw in 2020, was [an] acceleration of trends that we were well aware of and have been aware of, really, for far more than a decade," Argentieri said. "We won't go back, particularly in print advertising, to where we were."

"We lost tens of millions of dollars in advertising revenue pretty much instantly in March 2020, and the pandemic continues to take a toll on the public health and take a toll economically," Argentieri said.

"We are still operating with great uncertainty."

"I can understand why some may feel that it's been a slow process, a drawn-out process. I don't really view it that way," Argentieri told the employees regarding the unfilled L.A spot, according to another of The Wrap's accounts of the March 25 get-together.

"I don't think our owners view it as a rush. We want to get it right. I think everybody benefits from that." He went on to question speculation by outside observers regarding prospective editors.

"A number of esteemed journalism organizations that have reported on names and candidates and top candidates and people withdrawing and all of those things, it's been quite far from being rooted in anything approaching reality. But that is what it is," he said, per the account.

"We're making progress. I think we're getting close. We will obviously let everybody know as soon as the decisions been made, but it has not at this point."

Times' owner, Patrick Soon-Shiong, who two weeks ago told newspaper business analyst Rick Edmunds that he was "very early in the process of selecting the best candidate and I am confident we will do so," did not appear at the meeting, according to the reports.

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6

The San Diego Union is nothing more that L A Times South edition. I live in a small condo complex. When I moved in almost everyone got a newspaper. Now only two people get a newspaper. Both are elderly.

March 30, 2021

All the talk of hiring a new editor for the combined papers is a distraction from the real issues that were also mentioned. Ad revenue for papers in general is in a free fall, with the old and traditional newspaper advertisers abandoning them, and little is coming along to replace them. One big "cash cow" for papers was classified advertising, a feature of publishing that wasn't glamorous or eye-catching, but necessary and most profitable. For most papers, that is just about gone.

So, who they hire to edit the shrinking papers isn't going to make much difference at all. He/she won't bring back the readers and subscribers, and won't bring back the advertisers and their revenue. Sort of like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, don't you think?

March 30, 2021

I think that the UT will soon be relegated to the dust bin of history.

April 2, 2021

You are probably correct. The product I get in my driveway in the am is a pathetic excuse of a big city paper. Yeah, we still subscribe, but it is like watching a loved one waste away and die. (Not that we ever "loved" the rag.)

April 2, 2021
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
March 31, 2021

aa

March 31, 2021

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