The Los Angeles Times Guild would like to congratulate Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong on completing his purchase of The Times. After 18 years under chain ownership, The Times is back under local control.
We would like to say farewell to our fellow journalists across Tronc. The last few years have been especially hard. We still stand with you.
We look forward to further meetings with Dr. Soon-Shiong to hear his plans going forward.
We, too, have a message for him: We think it's time for the Los Angeles Times to think big again.
Newspapers are a tough business. But they’re not an impossible business. The New York Times makes more revenue from subscriptions than from advertising. The Washington Post reinvested in its newsroom and won many new loyal readers.
We once stood shoulder-to-shoulder with them. And we can again.
Look around. California is the nation's wealthiest, most populous and most dynamic state. It's home to the tech, entertainment and agriculture industries. We are the gateway between America and the Pacific Rim; we serve as the crossroads between Asia and Latin America. It’s no surprise that East Coast media outlets increasingly crave our readers.
We think the American West is ready for the return of its most historically dominant news organization — a bold, ambitious, independent Los Angeles Times that informs its readers and questions the status quo.
It will take work. We suffered mightily under Sam Zell, bankruptcy and Tronc. We lost far too much reporting and editing muscle in layoffs and buyouts. Many talented journalists left on their own, taking new jobs because they went years without raises or because they lost faith in their leaders.
Others who stayed have been similarly neglected. Dozens of newsroom workers who were hired for temporary positions have now labored alongside us for years as poorly paid contractors. And there are the stark gaps in pay for women and journalists of color — as documented in a recent report by the Guild.
This is why we were the first journalists in the 136-year history of The Times to unionize. We must make repairs.
You can bring back hope by investing in the newsroom. Give journalists better security, give them a strategy they can believe in, give them independence.
Do that, and this can be a place where top-flight journalists around the country want to work. Do that, and paying readers will follow.
Despite all the storm clouds in this industry — and in this country — optimism is contagious. Doing something that’s never been done before at the Los Angeles Times is not impossible. After all, we would know.
— The Los Angeles Times Guild