December 1, 2017 Last Updated 4:32 pm

Angelenos, alt-weekly journalists still in the dark regarding who actually owns the L.A. Weekly

Morning Brief: Argentina authorities gives up hope of finding, rescuing the crew of the submarine ARA San Juan; Time Inc. announces sale of west coast magazine Sunset

The big question in Los Angeles is who owns the L.A. Weekly, and why have they fired the entire staff (save one writer) and not replaced anyone?

In October the alt-weekly was sold to a new company, Semanal LLC, but as the deal was closed on Wednesday of this week, no one still knows who is behind the company and what their motives are for slashing the staff and essentially shutting down the paper.

“In an era of rampant misinformation and distrust, it’s especially important that we do not allow the owners and backers of news organizations to remain a mystery,” said Andrew Seaman, ethics committee chairperson at the Society of Professional Journalists in Indianapolis. “We cannot allow this to become the norm.”

All that seems to be known now is that David Welch, a Los Angeles attorney, who represents members of the cannabis industry, is the front man, but where they money is coming from, and the motives and plans of the owners remains unknown.

L.A. Weekly, Keith Plocek:

Who Owns L.A. Weekly?

Who owns the publication you’re reading right now?

…The new owners of L.A. Weekly don’t want you to know who they are. They are hiding from you. They’ve got big black bags with question marks covering their big bald heads. These new owners just laid off nine hardworking journalists. Why? For sport? To start anew? To fulfill a blood vendetta that is centuries old?


‘It’s a bloodbath’: Former LA Weekly editor on mass layoffs

Eater Los Angeles: LA Weekly Decimates Staff, Imperiling One of the City’s Most Important Food Sections
Newsweek: LA Weekly Has Been Gutted. Can Any Alt-Weeklies Survive Anymore?

If you have ever heard the folk music of Phil Ochs you know that he wrote a couple of songs about missing submarines. The Thresher and The Scorpion Departs and Never Returns are songs about the harrowing fate of two submarines that sink with all hands on deck, and what it must feel like for the crew to slowly realize they will not be rescued.

It is hard to believe that such a thing could happen today, but it has, and it isn’t even front page news in America thanks to the continued antics of the president and the Congress.

The Guardian, Uki Goñi:

Argentina’s missing submarine: ‘No one will be rescued’

Argentina has called off the rescue operation for its missing submarine 15 days after a reported explosion apparently sent it to the bottom of the Atlantic ocean off the coast of Patagonia.

“No one will be rescued,” said navy captain Enrique Balbi, who has been acting as official spokesperson for the rescue effort. Nonetheless, the search operation for the ARA San Juan would continue in waters of up to 500 metres deep, he added…

The submarine had 44 people on board. Luis Taglapietra, whose son Damián was a 27-year-old trainee on the submarine, told the TN news channel: “This is perverse and impossible to understand. They’re playing word games,” referring to the navy announcing it was calling off rescue efforts while agreeing to continue searching for the submarine as long as it is not in too deep waters. “What they are really saying is that they’re not going to be looking for it any more.”

IBT, Lara Rebello:

ARA San Juan: ‘Uncontrolled electric shock’ and hydrogen gas may have killed crew of missing sub

Horacio Tobías, a former submarine officer who spent two years as a crew member of the ARA San Juan, believes he might have a clue as to what happened to the sub. “The first thing we must understand is that he sailed with seven-meter waves, which hit him every nine seconds. This made it impossible to conduct any manoeuvre on the surface. It was like being inside a decanter hitting your sides,” he told the Gente website.

In his last communication to port on 15 November, Pedro Martín Fernández, the commander of San Juan, mentioned that seawater had entered the ventilation system to battery tank No 3 and caused it to short circuit.

Tobías’ hypothesis is that water would have leaked through the snorkle’s lid and would have come into contact with the bow battery.

Late yesterday, Time Inc. announced that it had sold off Sunset magazine to an LA-based private equity firm. Sunset was one of the group of magazines it announced it would sell before news broke of the sale of all of Time Inc. to Meredith.

One thing everyone wondered was whether, now that Meredith was buying the publisher, would the sales would go through? Guess the answer was Yes.

It makes sense, as Meredith never really was interested in all of Time Inc., and the company is having to absorb Time Inc.’s debt as part of the deal — plus take on more. So, a sales that brings in cash would be a good thing, right?

The problem I have with all this, though, is that under Rich Battista, Time Inc. was moving in a direction very different than what Meredith would have preferred. Battista didn’t know magazines (!) and wanted to move the company towards video content built on its weekly brands. Meredith, on the other hand, interested in dominating the woman’s category, would theoretically be interested in titles like InStyle, Southern Living, and, yes, Sunset.

Time Inc. UK may be the next property to be sold, assuming a buyer can be found. So, like many major media acquisitions, what may be left of the acquired company will be far less than what was originally bought. Whether Meredith can make a go of it once the dust settles will be the massive challenge.

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