Tonight, if all goes according to plan, prototype copies of the Los Angeles Examiner, a new weekly tabloid former mayor Richard Riordan hopes to begin publishing June 5, will roll off the presses.
Over the next month or so, according to Ken Layne, who
edited the prototype, the 52-page Los Angeles-focused exemplar will be
circulated to prospective advertisers and investors.
FOR THE RECORD
Name change -- The Regarding Media column in
Wednesday's Calendar gave an incorrect new name for the Silver Lake Press.
The publication is changing its name to the Los Angeles Alternative Press,
not the Los Angeles Press.
Layne, who along with Matt Welch operates the laexaminer.com Web site, an
interactive local news digest, said attracting investors is critical. "I
really don't know if Riordan is prepared to go forward alone," said Layne.
"Just looking at his past business involvement, you can see that he almost
always has partners. I think he's more comfortable spreading the risk --
The Examiner's prototype, which has about 20 color
pages, was put together by Layne, Welch and former New Times Los Angeles
production designer Erich Almendral, under the direction of former
McKinsey and Co. consultant Tim DeRoche with advice from veteran newspaper
and television journalist Jim Bellows.
Layne was discreetly hazy on
who had been paid what, but Monday he described his prototype co-workers
as paid consultants. "For somebody who has money," he said, "producing
this has been a very minor expense."
The Examiner, according to
Layne, is envisioned as a 70- to 80-page tabloid that will be published
every Thursday. Each week's issue will begin with an "Economist-style week
in review," said Layne, "then go right in a newsy opinion section with
regular and guest columnists." The prototype has pieces by Lynda Obst,
Billy Crystal, James Q. Wilson, Joel Kotkin, Jill Stewart, Cathy Seipp,
Bill Boyarsky, Susan Estrich, Gene Lichtenstein and Andy Klein. There will
also be sections devoted to business and economics, books, theater,
events, dining, music, travel and sports. "We're going to be very big on
sports, and we're also going to have a big gossip section right in the
middle," said Layne. "We'll probably also do weddings."
Examiner will not compete with The Times or the L.A. Weekly on listings.
"They're incredibly expensive to do," said Layne and "trying to compete in
that area is one of the things that killed New Times."
prototype is successful, Layne said, the Examiner will begin hiring staff
in about six weeks. About 15 journalists and an equal number of business
people could be employed. No decision on an editor has been made, though
Layne is interested in either that spot or the managing editor's job.
"Once the thing is built, we'll try to bring somebody in as executive
editor," he said. "Jim Bellows has been involved from the start, and we'll
certainly want to ask him to take some formal title."
said the project has been propelled by the opening in the market created
by the closure of New Times Los Angeles, there will be important
differences between the Examiner and other alternative weeklies. For one
thing, there will be no adult advertising. "Without the hooker ads, we can
be in all sorts of places other alternative weeklies can't go," he said.
"We can be in nice hotel lobbies or mail copies to people in selected ZIP
Codes without having them scream about what's turning up in their
mailboxes. We hope to be available in supermarkets I can't afford, like
The Examiner isn't the only alternative tabloid queuing
up to fill the void left by New Times. Monday, the Silver Lake Press
announced it will relaunch itself as the biweekly Los Angeles Press and,
beginning Feb. 19, will distribute 40,000 free copies to 400 drop-off
points from Pasadena to La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles.
Change, as purveyors of corporate realpolitik constantly remind
us, is painful.
Seldom has that pain been expressed quite as
publicly as it was Monday in Paris, where the International Herald
Tribune's chief executive and publisher, Peter C. Goldmark Jr., was fired
by the New York Times.
Since last year, when it bought the
Washington Post's 50% interest in the Herald Tribune, the Times has been
moving to transform the beloved -- but unprofitable -- expatriate icon
into its own international edition. The Paris-based paper's news staff now
reports to the Times' executive editor, Howell Raines, and its editorial
page is supervised by Gail Collins, the Times' editorial page
Monday, Goldmark, who supported the Times' purchase but
argued strongly for maintaining the Herald Trib's independence, was
replaced by Herald Trib President and Chief Operating Officer Richard
Wooldridge, who will report directly to Janet L. Robinson, the New York
company's vice president for newspaper operations.
But Goldmark, a veteran newspaper executive widely
admired for his skill and candor, chose not to go quietly into the
In a lengthy statement read to his staff, he
said, "I was not ready to go, but the New York Times asked me to go....
There is a code in the corporate world. Under that code you are expected
to leave it murky as to whether you are resigning or being fired; you are
supposed to go quietly; you are supposed to say everything is OK; and you
often pick up a nice fat check at the door.
"But on this and other
issues of importance to me, the New York Times and I did not see eye to
eye, so I am going to break that code today. Believe me, I will pay dearly
for this, both financially and in other coin.
"But I gain something
beyond price that is also very important. And that is the freedom to talk
frankly and clearly, with you here this morning and elsewhere, and to say
some things that should be said....
"I am the last publisher of the
IHT as an independent newspaper with its own voice ..... There are many
issues on which the New York Times and I have disagreed over the past few
months, but this is the fundamental one: the end of the IHT as an
independent newspaper, with its own voice and its own international
"This is a great loss. The world needs more independent
voices, not fewer....
"What is going forward is the global New York
Times. Is it nevertheless important that the global New York Times
succeed? Again, the answer is yes. It is too important to fail. The stakes
are very high. In the largest sense, we all need the New York Times to
succeed because independent journalism is the oxygen of
Goldmark could not be reached for comment. But,
following his remarks, the full text of his 2 1/2-page statement was
distributed to the Herald Trib's staff. Later in the day, he also e-mailed
copies to close friends, along with an unusually emotional personal
"I made the attached statement today to the staff here at the
IHT," he wrote. "It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done.
You are among the friends I care enough about to want you to hear it from
me. The press, but particularly the [New York Times] will almost certainly
downplay and marginalize it." (Tuesday's national edition of the Times
carried a 10-paragraph account of the reorganization on the bottom of Page
14 in its business section; the story quoted briefly from Goldmark's
"I have been pretty good at dodging bullets, but
sometimes you run out of wriggle room and you gotta decide what you really
stand for, and what you're going to do," he wrote in his
"This is a lonely, lonely moment. But brother, does it feel
like the right thing to do. And that's what counts now. It will hurt my
family financially, and it will hurt my future job prospects ... who wants
to hire a guy who tells the truth?"