A group of newspaper readers, dissatisfied with the rightward lurchings of the local daily newspaper, have started a Facebook cause page urging the Los Angeles Times to expand its presence in the San Diego market. “Entitled Bring the L.A. Times back to San Diego”, the social media page has acquired a 144 “likes” in its first 24 hours. The Los Angeles-based paper discontinued efforts to maintain a presence in the San Diego market two decades ago.
The pleas for the LA daily to enter this market may be a moot point, however, as an article circulating in the AOL-owned Patch websites claims that UT-San Diego CEO John Lynch told a meeting of the Harvard Business School Club that he and publisher Doug Manchester were looking into buying properties owned by the Chicago based Tribune Company. That company is emerging from bankruptcy and owns the LA Times, along with newspapers in newspapers in Chicago, Baltimore, Connecticut and Florida.
Lynch told the group Manchester Lynch Integrated Media has cash available and no debt, suggesting that the company has aspirations of becoming a national media power. Their foray into the media world started last year with the purchase of the San Diego Union-Tribune from Platinum Equity. Manchester, along with partner/CEO John Lynch, have repackaged & redesigned the daily newspaper, now called UT-San Diego, added a broadcast component (UT-TV) and injected a near maniacal and conspiracy tinged level of conservatism into the editorial pages.
Most recently, Lynch/Manchester announced the purchase of the North County Times, giving their company dominance throughout the county in the daily print market. Local reaction to the new regime has been mixed at best. While the re-design of the old Union Tribune has made it easier to read, the new publisher’s ham-handed attempts at influencing public opinion have prompted numerous postings in UT-San Diego’s comments sections and elsewhere from individuals claiming that they are ending their subscriptions. However, Lynch claimed repeatedly during his speech that revenues at the company are rising.
This post originally appeared at Starting Line, San Diego Free Press.