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.