Soon-Shion allowing newspaper to die

By T.J.Simers

I am flummoxed.

I don’t get what the LA Times is doing in sports, or why the owner Patrick Soon-Shiong or the editor Kevin Merida or his executive lieutenants are allowing it.

There is no reason, and I repeat no reason to make the changes they have made at this time.

An no reason whatsoever if Soon-Shiong acted as an owner of a newspaper.

We’ve been told these changes are necessary because the Times will be using presses in Riverside beginning in February.

It is July, and so we’ve been told the Sports Editor Iliano Romero wants to get readers used to what the newspaper will be like when February comes along.

“Get used to Garbage” might as well be Romero’s battle cry, four days into this major change and why didn’t Romero line up her very best to deliver the very best? So far, nothing special and she’s in Las Vegas schmoozing with sports editors from aroud the country.

Given such changes she should have remained in LA overseeing the new look, and maybe the misidentification in Tuesday’s paper of Miguel Vargas in a huge picture would never have happened.

Merida should have demanded she remain in LA, responding to the calls and emails from angry subscribers.

How about billionaire Soon-Shiong putting out the money to get the Times its own press; if he took on the responsibility to acquire a treasured icon like the Los Angeles Times, how about not running it into the ground.

Is Merida really the editor or a sad front to keep the heat off Soon-Shiong? I know he recommended Tyler R. Tynes for the job of culture critic and he’s been an unequivocal bust, but come on, does he need to kill off the entire sports’ product?

I don’t know, it has the feel of something else. The New York Times disbanded its sports department and has an online entity, the Athletic, now offering sports news. That was shocking to hear, but New York Times sports was never anything all that special.

It ran a big sports section every Monday, big pictures and long stories and doesn’t that sound familiar, but spotty coverage otherwise. Several columnists won Pulitzers, a large part because they were writing in New York with the heft of the Times behind them.

This week they are disbanding a department with 35 people. This was a move in the making, a staff left to shrink and now shifting for content to the Athletic, who recently laid off a number of employees.

The LA Times recently laid off 74 copy editors, and now the lament is the newspaper has to have early deadlines because it doesn’t have enough copy editors. New York Times all over?

If the LA Times can get rid of the newspaper, it won’t have to pay for newsprint, leasing presses, or pay truck drivers to get the newspapers out.

So far, they are doing a good job of getting rid of the newspaper. They ignored the Angels for years and this entire season but two of the first four days have been dedicated on the front of sports to showcasing the Angels’ Ohtani.

I love Bill Shaikin’s work and Dylan Hernandez’s columns, but they went weak-kneed on everyone in Wednesday’s newspaper. Hernandez can speak Japanese and tried, and tried, and tried to get something out of Ohtani on Media Day at the All-Star game.

At best, it’s a good inside column or one of many front-page sports elements featured in sports as we remember sports. But Romero scheduled it a week ago and informative or not it was going to get the big picture treatment on sports’ most important page.

News no longer matters in the newspaper.

Shaikin had a good idea, offering the All-Stars an opportunity to make a recruiting pitch to Ohtani. Shaikin tried and tried and got nowhere, the story inside at best or maybe the better decision not to run it.

But what’s confounding is the Times’ willingness to irritate the people who are paying for the newspaper.

They wrote a story online telling readers “How to watch the Home Run Derby,” but then the Times forgot to cover it.

They offered a staff written story on Mookie Betts and the home run derby from the All-Star game two days after it happened.

They didn’t have a word in Wednesday’s newspaper about the All Star Game even though the game ended before 9 p.m., which would have allowed the newspaper plenty of time to get it in the paper had they not established the phony 3 p.m. deadline.

They intentionally frustrated newspaper readers!

How can Soon-Shiong look at his newspaper or his laboratory associates who still might be reading the newspaper and feel any pride in ownership?

How can Merida accept the gibberish he is hearing from his sports editor to explain such a lousy sports product?

And it’s going to get worse, or maybe that’s the plan.

One thought on “Soon-Shion allowing newspaper to die

  1. I signed up for the OC Register yesterday and, what a shock, I got to read an article about the All Star Game this morning …. just like a “real” sports section.

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