The New Times chain of weekly papers is taking over the Village Voice, LA Weekly, OC Weekly and three other papers to form a group of seventeen more-or-less alt weeklies. New Times CEO Jim Larkin will be CEO and Michael Lacey will be Executive Editor.
Much more at LAOBSERVED, the NY Times and the Washington Post.
One of the more interesting observations is in the Washington Post - quoting the new executive editor:
'Perfectly good journalism is commercially viable,' Lacey says. 'You have to give them well-written, well-reported stories. We don't need focus groups. We knew damn well that good stories sell, not people doing raving opinion pieces about how outraged they are. Blogs have made it completely unnecessary to have alternative newspapers fulfilling that role.'"
"New Times will export its brand of 'desert libertarianism on the rocks, with sprigs of neocon politics,' writes Bruce Brugmann, publisher of the rival San Francisco Bay Guardian..
What made New Times unique in its day in LA was its interest in going after any malefactors of any ideological stripe whether or not they agreed with their politics while at the Weekly - ideological purity was all that counted. Ironically, the LA Weekly has become a far, far better paper in the last few years with reporters like Robert Greene and Jeffrey Anderson who are only interested in where the bodies are buried - and not the political credentials of bodies.
And with a million blogs offering opinions, we can use some more papers willing to do the detailed investigations only a real newspaper can do. Off the top of my head, I can think of a half-dozen major stories New Times covered - that no one has touched since then.
So while I would prefer we still had both the Weekly and New Times fighting for readers, a combination of the two might make for a more interesting paper than either of them separately. It might also make it possible for one of the other two papers move up the food chain.