Patrick, time to sell LA Times

By T.J. Simers

I gave up a few months ago on the Los Angeles Times and Patrick Soon-Shiong’s clueless ownership of the newspaper.

I was apparently not alone.

If you Google the LA Times’ circulation numbers, it had a circulation of 1.3 million on weekdays a couple years back and 2.5 million on Sundays.

Well, it did but now according to Statista, as of March 2023, the Times had a daily circulation 118,760.

And that was before the sports section eliminated box scores and stopped covering the Dodgers and Lakers if their games started after 3 p.m.

Since then, has the Los Angeles Times’ circulation dropped below 100,000? Shouldn’t that be reported as a crime?

Crime? Did someone mention the Times’ sports culture critic Tyler R. Tynes? In Tynes first 12 months on the job, he wrote nine stories, two of them about Philadelphia because that’s where he grew up, three forgettable boxing features and stories on Brittney Griner, who he didn’t interview and Deion Sanders, who he did not interview.

All together he wrote nine uninteresting stories and Times’ circulation is dwindling.

His first story in his second year on the job arrived this weekend, a boxing Q&A snoozer that reads like a free ad for something called DAZN, a streaming boxing service. The story is based on the premise boxing is dying but this DAZN CEO says his company can change all that. Of course, it can. You expect the CEO to say he can’t.

I just wonder if Tynes has accepted a PR job with DAZN to work in all the free time he has not writing for the LA Times?

Or is it free advertising like the PR release just written by Times’ reporter Sarah Valenzuela on a film about Shohei Ohtani to be shown exclusively on ESPN+?

Looks like Times’ reporters are being used by outside PR efforts like the ones that led to Awash Markazi’s dismissal.

The Times’ sports editor Iliana Romero has put together a sub-standard staff, including Tynes and Valenzula.

It helps explain the once great LA Times dramatic demise and owner Patrick Soon-Shiong’s lack of interest.

The Times has also fallen far short of Soon-Shiong’s stated goal of one million digital subscribers by the end of 2022. It’s been reported the Times had 550,000 digital subscribers before falling to 450,00.

The New York Times has 8.6 million.

Editor Kevin Merida, who hired Tynes, and Sports Editor Iliana Romero have reduced the sports section to an outdated magazine and cut short deadlines even though there was no reason to do so because they know the newspaper is in a death spiral.

Doesn’t Patrick Soon-Shiong have to sell the newspaper to get out of this money pit and preserve his own public face? The newspaper lacks a union contract and an internal battle for a new one is just another Soon-Shiong headache.

Under his leadership, and I’m hearing his own daughter no longer works for the newspaper, the Times has turned to crap.

The big picture taking up the whole first page of sports many mornings often looks like it has been prepared by eighth graders who have been given exacto knives to work on their yearbook.

Given Romero’s track record to date and inability to offer quality journalism—just try reading the work of the Angels’ beat reporter she hired—shouldn’t sports columnist Bill Plaschke be calling for her firing? He’s fired everyone else in town.

One thought on “Patrick, time to sell LA Times

  1. I read with interest your thoughts on the falling LA Times subscription rates. Particularly as it relates to the sports section that reads from back to front on the E newspaper deliveries. Would it be possible for you to get to the bottom of this, and find out why this is necessary, and who might have been responsible. It is terribly frustrating to read what was formally a world-class newspaper that it must stoop to something like this.

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