By T.J. Simers
I find it telling that the San Diego Union-Tribune, owned by LA Times’ owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, will also be moving to new presses in February necessitating changes in the printed copy.
One difference: The LA Times is making changes in sports before the end of the Dodgers’ season and the start of college football and NFL seasons.
The Times is in a hurry to get rid of the print newspaper and knows eliminating box scores, Dodgers and football coverage will infuriate readers, convincing some to cancel their subscriptions. The Times’ hope is that this will send everyone online, where they intend to make money without absorbing the cost of newsprint and the use of presses.
Just like TV with streaming charges for platforms like Hulu, Paramount, Paramount Plus and Apple, the Times intends to charge for sports coverage online, believing people will go to latimes.com rather than ESPN and other sports platforms. And I can’t believe I just wrote about platforms.
Apparently, the Union-Tribune is still interested in caring for its sports readers, who enjoy the newspaper, and will not eliminate coverage of baseball and football in the printed copy until it is forced to do so.
I still find it dumbfounding the Times and Union-Tribune sold their presses.
Owner Patrick Soon-Shiong is not making these changes to his sports product; the editors at the times are the ones jumping the gun, and beginning Monday the Times will stop covering the Dodgers. They stopped covering the Angels when the season began.
USC has not posted times for all its games, but you can be pretty sure Times’ reporters and columnists will not meet the new 3 p.m. daily deadline to report on the game. That means readers will get stories on the Saturday games in their Monday newspapers.
You will be getting lots of overwritten features instead, and countless stories on Caleb Williams.
The same can be said about UCLA, although it does not have Caleb Williams.
It’s become abundantly clear Times’ sports editor Iliana Limon Romero doesn’t care about readers. She has no LA institutional knowledge, the understanding how important the Dodgers are to so many people, or the Lakers, and I guess the Kings. She hired an Angels’ writer who can’t write and a culture critic who doesn’t write.
She has two other writers, David Wharton and Brady McCollough, who write less than Tyler R. Tynes, the culture critic. She seems to have the inability to hold them accountable, and yet no problem taking away your daily sports coverage.
Former sports editor Bill Dwyre made the sports section special, going back to the ’84 Olympics while also riding the marvelous run of Jim Murray. So much good stuff, and now all we await is the big illustration on page one of sports saying, OUT OF BUSINESS.
The new format will make her job easier. The Times will run one story on the first page of sports and huge pictures or illustrations. Some days there will be no story on the first page, A good bet is you will be getting lots of soccer. Everything else, including Plaschke and Hernandez, will be jammed inside. On a bright note, Helene Elliott will probably never make it to the front page again,
Keep in mind none of this has to be done at this time. The Times could still give you coverage of the Dodgers, USC, UCLA and so much more but they are in such a hurry to annoy you, make you mad and cancel your subscription.
It will be different for readers of the San Diego Union-Tribune — at least until February.
And I’m guessing Patrick Soon-Shiong has no idea about any of this, so he obviously doesn’t care.