Experts Expound

Experts Expound

Chicago real-estate tycoon Samuel Zell has purchased California’s premier newspaper, the Los Angeles Times, along with other assets of the Tribune Co. Will this transaction affect California political coverage?

We will know it is impacting things if California starts looking like Illinois. Examples would be that a Republican governor starts looking seriously at corrections reform, a National League team with a superstar left fielder having steroid problems that has not won the World Series in decades, or the speaker of the House of Representatives calls this state home. Wait a minute …

No. Burkle and Broad would have weighed in heavily to change the coverage. But Zell’s doing this as a business investment, not a political decision.

Could it get worse?

It depends. If the Times is sold to an L.A.-centric group, it could be better. Going private will reduce the pressure to earn outrageous rates of return hopefully. Too soon to tell.

The Times has the best Sacramento bureau by far. The buyout will only affect coverage if they don’t replace the reporters who bail.

The smart Zell will focus the Times’ coverage on California-centric in-depth coverage. The ill-advised Zell will try to make the Times into another generic national-style paper.

Hard to see it getting any worse, but with the attrition rate at most papers I could see an entire turnover of the Capitol press corps in the next five years.
No, because the coverage already stinks.

Perhaps the Times will finally write fewer stories targeted to West L.A. secular liberals and include more viewpoints that are reflective of the wide political, ethnic, religious, and other types of diversity that comprise California. But I’m not holding my breath.

More importantly, will it bring the legendary, unbridled, top-of-the-mountain success of the Cubs to California’s ball clubs?

The people from whom we sought opinions: Andrew Acosta, A.G. Block, Deborah Gonzalez, Don Wilcox, Dan Schnur, Evan Goldberg, Sam Sorich, Karen Hanretty, Jason Kinney, Matt Ross, Mike Madrid, Kevin Spillane, Morgan Crinklaw, Ralph Simoni, Richard Zeiger, Peter DeMarco, Adam Probolsky, Barbara O’Connor, Jeff Fuller, Kassy Perry, Adam Mendelsohn, Ken Gibson, Bill Packer, Jack Pitney, Sandy Harrison, Steve Maviglio, Nicole Mahrt, Will Shuck, Bob Hertzberg, Evan Goldberg, Roger Salazar, Mark Bogetich, Matt Rexroad, Tony Quinn, Scout Baugh

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