The new owner of the Los Angeles Times told employees Friday the newspaper will move out of its historic downtown art deco building “at least temporarily” to El Segundo.
According to Twitter posts from Times arts writer Carolina Miranda, new owner Patrick Soon-Shiong told staff that terms could not be reached with the Canadian developer that owns the newspaper’s building on First and Spring streets, near City Hall. El Segundo is about 19 miles from downtown.
Soon-Shiong, a biotech billionaire who agreed to buy The Times from media company Tronc for $500 million, said the paper’s lease on the building expires at the end of June.
Soon-Shiong said the paper’s headquarters will move to El Segundo “at least temporarily.”
According to Miranda, the physician said he views The Times “as a public service in the private sector” and that social media aids “in the metastasis of fake news.”
Times business editor Kimi Yoshino posted that after the staff meeting, she walked back to the newsroom where “everyone has Google Maps open on their screens, calculating new commute times.”
Soon-Shiong’s purchase of The Times returns the 136-year-old publication to local ownership for the first time since the Tribune Company — renamed Tronc — bought it in 2000.
Former Los Angeles Times Editor-in-Chief Lewis D’Vorkin was fired by Tronc Thursday and several dozen other employees of the company were laid off. D’Vorkin was the chief content officer of Tribune Interactive, a newly formed digital business unit of the Times’ parent company. The reason for his removal was not announced.
The Times’ newsroom voted overwhelmingly in January to join the NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America — in part out of what reporters said was frustration with corporate ownership and concerns about pay.
A month later, Tronc announced that it had agreed to sell The Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune to Soon-Shiong. The deal is expected to close this month.