Well, this has been quite the week, eh? Friday is finally here, and we deserve a rest.
It is a good time to reflect on milestones.
One was reached on Monday when Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong completed the purchase of the Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune and the California News Group.
Before publishing Inventing L.A.: the Chandlers and their Times in 2009, we at Angel City Press thought we understood how the Southern California and the Times were intertwined, symbiotic, maybe even co-dependent. But Peter Jones and Bill Boyarsky revealed the depth and complexity of that relationship.
Inventing L.A. came at roughly the midpoint of the period when the Times was controlled (to put it charitably) from Chicago. You will get a sense of the paper's entire 136-year arc in a June 17 article in the Times "Visionaries and scoundrels made the Los Angeles Times, which returns to local ownership after 18 years") by Joe Mozingo.
This spring, as we published Don't Stop the Presses! Truth, Justice, and the American Newspaper by Patt Morrison, we learned that the importance of newspapers to their communities is no unique-to-L.A. story. Those communities have been defined—and given their voices—by geography, by gender, by race, and by language. Patt sums it up eloquently:
For three hundred years, newspapers have been the microscope and microphone for Americans. The writers and photographers and editors and publishers are the humans who humanize the place where we live. The newspapers they create are the record of our national life, and their stalwart existence is daily proof, to ourselves and to the world, that the remarkable American democratic undertaking still works.
So, let's celebrate newspapers this weekend:
- Come on over to Skylight Books on Saturday June 23 from 5 to 7 p.m. (1818 N Vermont in Los Feliz) and ask Patt about why we need to make certain that we Don't Stop the Presses!
- And first thing (7:45 a.m.!) Sunday June 24, watch her interview with Conan Nolan on "News Conference" on KNBC channel 4.
Don't forget to pick up the paper!
P.S. Addressing a newsprint shortage during World War II, the Chandlers invested in forest land and paper mills. Supplies ebbed and flowed; by September 1965, partygoers went crazy posing in hula skirts made from newspapers. That party's over. Last summer, a complaint from the owners of one Washington paper mill triggered tariffs that have increased newsprint prices by 20 percent or more (see "Norpac asks feds to stop 'unfair' Canadian 'dumping'")
The International Trade Commission takes up the matter on July 17; you can read about the result in your local paper—if it can last another month. (see "Newspapers Become Lobbyists as They Try to Save Their Industry From Trump’s Tariffs").
As we said, Don't Stop the Presses!