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Key links:
Primary website:
latimes.com
Primary Twitter:
@latimes

The Los Angeles Times is a daily newspaper owned by the Tribune Company. It is the United States’ fourth-largest daily newspaper and among the top five newspaper websites in the country.

The Times was owned by the Otis/Chandler family from its founding in 1881 until 2007. The family-owned Times Mirror Co. merged with the Tribune Co. in 2000, and the family sold its share of the Tribune Co. to billionaire Sam Zell in 2007. The Tribune Co. was working to sell the Times in 2013, and both the conservative billionaire Koch brothers and News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch were reported to be interested in buying the paper, though Murdoch was held back by FCC ownership regulations and the Kochs backed out of the process.

The Times rose to prominence under the leadership of Otis Chandler from 1960 to 1980. The paper developed a national reach, expanded its international reporting and won numerous prizes for its journalism. The Times’ prestige began to decline during the late 1990s, however, its troubles culminating in an ethical scandal over a profit-sharing agreement with the Staples Center revolving around a special section about the arena’s opening.

In the mid-2000s, the Times was further weakened by several rounds of cuts by the Tribune Co., both before and during Zell’s ownership. During that time, the newspaper lost circulation, made several rounds of cuts, and saw the departure of at least four senior executives over their refusal to implement those cuts. The Tribune Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008.

The Times received a $1 million grant in 2012 from the Ford Foundation to expand its coverage of several beats, including immigration, ethnic minority communities, and Brazil.

The Times ended its national edition in 2004, its California section in 2009, and its magazine in 2012. The paper also consolidated its foreign reporting with the Chicago Tribune (another Tribune paper) in 2009, and by late 2009, the Times’ editor said he no longer saw the paper as a competitor of national publications like The New York Times.

The Times combined its print and web operations in 2007, emphasizing the website’s importance with the move. The merger was prompted by a 2006 internal report that found the paper’s web operation slow, understaffed and lacking in leadership. In 2009, Editor Russ Stanton said the Times’ web revenues could cover the cost of the newsroom’s payroll. By 2011, the Times’ web traffic had increased dramatically, largely as a result of efforts in search engine optimization and social media. The paper redesigned its website in 2014, introducing a visual browsing mode, a continually scrolling stream of stories, and pre-written tweets and status updates on article pages.

The Times launched an online paid subscription plan in March 2012, using a metered model that allows 15 free articles per month before charging 99 cents and then $1.99 per week. The paper had experimented with paid content previously, putting its arts and entertainment listings behind a paywall from 2003 to 2005. The Times also released a $1.99 iPhone app in June 2010 and a free iPad version of the LA Times Magazine, LA, in April 2011. The paper reported 177,000 digital subscriptions across its platforms in 2013.

The Times joined the publisher program for the social-news app Zite in July 2012.

In 2005, the Times experimented with a community-edited “wikitorial,” but it was quickly shut down after being besieged by spam and pornography.

The Times has been criticized for running large front-page ads, including one that ran as a mock news article and another as a mock front page.

 

Recent Nieman Lab coverage:
May 22, 2014 / Ken Doctor
The newsonomics of The New York Times’ innovators’ dilemmas — When the smoke has finally cleared from the Jill Abramson firing, we’ll be left with one big question: What will The New York Times’ digital future look like under new executive editor Dean Baquet? The Times&...
May 9, 2014 / Mark Coddington
This Week in Review: Weak net neutrality and stifled startups, and a glimpse of U.S. journalists — Will new FCC regulations harm startups?: The U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s proposed Internet regulations, which are set to be formally presented next week, are coming under fire from all corners, led by...
May 5, 2014 / Joshua Benton
The new L.A. Times redesign would like to write that tweet for you, thank you very much — The Los Angeles Times is about to redesign its website; it’ll go live overnight. Some screenshots are at Politico. The Times worked with Code and Theory, which has done some fine work with other news brands — The...
April 7, 2014 / Marty Baron
Optimism is the only option: The Washington Post’s Marty Baron on the state of the news media — I knew that title would be a bit of a risk. Our profession and our business face many problems, many pressures. Optimism is not always easy to find, and sometimes it’s perilous to admit, especially when you’r...
March 28, 2014 / Joshua Benton
It looks like another sports team owner is about to buy another newspaper — That’s the report from John Vomhof Jr. of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal: Taylor Corp. and Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is close to a deal to buy the Star Tribune, according to a local report...

Recently around the web, from Mediagazer:

Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: May 8, 2014.
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Explore: DNAinfo
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DNAinfo (short for Digital Network Associates) is an online local news organization covering Manhattan and Chicago. The site was founded in November 2009 by Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, who also provides its funding. The original New York site had an editorial staff of about 45 in March 2013 and it includes both neighborhood-level sites and broader…

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