Scott Martelle writes that for staffers at the LA Weekly, the coming regime change "is like being eaten by a monster they thought they had already killed." Laurie Ochoa, the Weekly's editor, speaks in the piece:
You can't stop journalists from worrying and fearing the worst. We can't be sure how it's going to turn out. If what the New Times wants is to do quality journalism, I don't think we should have a problem because that is what we want to do too. But there will certainly be an adjustment period....
I don't want the paper to be perceived as a predictable organ of the left. "The paper is a progressive, left-wing paper and I don't think that will change. But I think you have to push ideas and issues so that people will be more challenged in their thinking, not just accept a left-wing position without thinking it through.
Rick Barrs, the former New Times editor in Los Angeles who now runs the chain's Phoenix paper, also has what I think are his first words of any length on the merger.
"I've gotten a hundred phone calls and e-mails, both pro and con, about coming back to town," Barrs says. "I'd have mixed emotions about it, to tell you the truth…. I kind of like it here."
Barrs, who stressed that he has no inkling of what New Times hopes to do with the Voice papers, said the six years that New Times LA existed was "a good time." While the outside perception might have been that the two weeklies were competing, he says they were more complementary, a sense Ochoa and longtime weekly readers share.
"We just weren't the ideological paper the Weekly was," Barrs says. "In my mind, the New Times was about news coverage and journalism. Not that [the LA Weekly] didn't do journalism, but their columnists and stories were kind of, 'All the lefty news that's fit to print.' We weren't like that. We didn't do editorials, we didn't have an editorial philosophy."