Gannett drops Tronc and more midweek notes

Our semi-regular column of media and politics notes, with other news and observations. From multiple sources and the LA Observed inbox. Monday's LA Observed Notes.

At the top

tronc-on-phone-lat.jpgGannett out: Well, it looks like the LA Times is stuck with the management of Michael Ferro and Tronc for the foreseeable future. Gannett officially dropped its pursuit of Tronc on Tuesday, days after the two sides apparently agreed to a price and most details of a deal. Gannett's bankers reportedly balked. Tronc's stock price fell 12 percent on the news, to $10.54. Gannett shares closed down 2.3 percent. Also Tuesday, Tronc reported a net loss of $10.5 million for the third quarter, compared to an $8.6 million loss a year ago. Revenue was also down, to $378.2 million from $405.7 million. "Tuesday’s busted deal...leaves two companies wobbling — and the state of the newspaper industry in a very public mess," says Politico Media's Ken Doctor. Also: Brian Stelter/CNN, Michael Hiltzik/LA Times, Rick Edmonds/Poynter, Jennifer Saba/NYT.

8150-sunset-rendering.jpg8150 Sunset: The City Council unanimously approved the Frank Gehry-designed high-rise development at Sunset Boulevard and Crescent Heights, at the mouth of Laurel Canyon. The mixed-use complex will include two residential towers and a shopping center. Councilman David Ryu said the project is more acceptable since the height of the tallest tower was reduced at a contentious planning committee meeting last week, but the nearby city of West Hollywood and some residents' groups opposed densifying the low-rise corner. The fate of a 1960 Lytton Savings building by architect Kurt Meyer remains up in the air. The corner is where the famed Garden of Allah hotel once stood. Curbed LA

Sea Breeze sleaze: DA Jackie Lacey's office said it was aware of the suspect campaign contributions reported in an LA Times investigation into the developer of the Sea Breeze apartment complex in Harbor Gateway. More than $600,000 from at least 100 listed donors were connected to developer Samuel Leung, but some of the donors said they knew nothing of the contributions listed in their name. A review by the district attorney’s office is the first step in determining whether a criminal investigation is warranted. Steve Lopez rips City Hall a new one in his column on the story. LAT editorial: "When critics say the city of Los Angeles’ development process is corrupt, this is a perfect illustration of what they mean."

Plus: Kudos from the Columbia Journalism Review: "Look no further than The Los Angeles Times’ investigation of a developer’s shady political contributions to see what we’re losing with the atrophy of metro newspapers."


Sheriff's oversight(ish): The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday finally approved — two years after proposed — a civilian oversight panel for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Unlike civilian oversight of the LAPD, for example, this one is purely advisory. Daily News, KPCC


Campaign 2016

Trump's America: A Wall Street Journal map and study of 15 years of population data shows that the rural and heartland areas where Donald Trump is strongest are also the places where ethnic diversity has increased the most. Not the most numbers, but the most change. In other words, small towns in the Midwest with their first appreciable Latino and Asian residents are the areas where Trump's fear-mongering message works. WSJ/subscribers only

Game changer: How Trump has changed political journalism, by Dylan Byers of CNN Money in Los Angeles: "The change is real, and can be seen in front-page headlines that identify lies, cable news chyrons that fact-check in real time, and the commentary of reporters on television and social media who are more unbridled than ever before in offering their assessments on the state of the race."

Clinton endorsed: For the first time in its history, Variety endorsed a candidate for president.. Column by editors Claudia Eller and Andrew Wallenstein explains.

Too little, too late?: The Trump campaign disavowed the support of a Ku Klux Klan newspaper that adopted his "Make America Great Again" slogan and claimed "America was great not because of what our forefathers did — but because of who our forefathers were....America was founded as a White Christian Republic." The campaign said Trump "denounces hate in any form.” That would come as a surprise to reporters besieged with threats, epithets and anti-Semitic slurs by the crowds at Trump rallies.

Going big: Noticias Telemundo revealed plans for Election Day coverage across all its platforms, "including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Periscope, YouTube, Instagram and the webpage." Included is a watch party at La Plaza de Las Artes in Los Angeles.

Noted: The Hoover Institution poll finds Clinton ahead 54-30 in California, which if it holds would mean Trump lands the lowest percentage of any Republican presidential candidate in the state since Alf Landon in 1936. Stats... New TV ads for Measure M in Los Angeles County feature Mayor Eric Garcetti stuck in traffic and claiming the sales tax measure would help... Molly Selvin writes from the other coast: Is North Carolina a cautionary tale about the dangers of alienating moderates? Sacramento Bee op-ed...

Beyond 2016: Antonio Villaraigosa is looking to former Gavin Newsom advisor Eric Jaye to run his 2018 campaign for governor, Politico's David Siders reports. The ex-mayor endorsed Proposition 64, the marijuana legalization measure.... Delaine Eastin, the former state superintendent of public instruction, says she is running for governor too... So sorry to have to say this, but the filing period opens Nov. 7 for candidates to declare their intent to run in the March city election.

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Media notes

Big cuts and big changes loom for the Wall Street Journal. Politico Media... At least four leaders and five other members of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association resigned from the group over a content and promotional deal that ties the group's Critics’ Choice Awards to Entertainment Weekly and the A&E Network. Variety... Fox News is reportedly offering Megyn Kelley a $20 million package to stay with the network after the election. Vanity Fair... pbs-socal.jpgPBS SoCal is rebranding with the slogan KOCE is your PBS, a new logo and a new website with content from PBS... Richard Sandomir, the sports media beat writer for the New York Times, is moving to the obituaries desk. He talks about 25 years in Sports... The LA Press Club's National Arts and Entertainment Journalism awards will honor Diane Warren, Angela Lansbury and Chelsea Handler... Quartz launched a Spanish-language version of its Daily Brief email newsletter. Nieman Lab...Al Leone marked 30 years with City News Service. He's on the dayside police beat, and you don't see his byline but you do see his reporting.


Isaiah Quintabe is a fictional private detective in Long Beach and the star of “IQ,” the debut novel of Joe Ide. Janet Maslin likes.

A Cannonball Run-style road race reached from Manhattan to LA, but I'm kinda surprised the C2C Express made it here after this bit of map reading: "He encountered an accident on I-15 west of Los Angeles..." Washington Post

new-millipede.jpgWhat has 414 legs, four penises and lives in a cave in California? NYT

Ontario officially took control of the airport formerly run by Los Angeles in that Inland Empire city. LAT

Plans were filed with City Hall for a proposed George Lucas museum west of the Coliseum in Exposition Park. Lucas is pitting LA against San Francisco. Curbed LA has details.

New research suggests that the deadly 1933 Long Beach earthquake was influenced by oil drilling methods used at the time (but not anymore.) LAT

So why did an arsonist target Geoffrey Palmer's Da Vinci apartments? LA Weekly

Australia's lessons for a thirsty California. NYT op-ed

Beverly Hills squeezes Chinese hotel builder for big bucks instead of offering a handout. Michael Hiltzik column/LAT

Real estate investors are betting that offices are the next big thing in the rapidly changing Arts District. LAT

OC's own Gwen Stefani played the closing show at Irvine Meadows. Register

Olga Garay-English was named interim executive director of the county's John Anson Ford Theatre.

Norman Brokaw, the retired chairman of William Morris whose personal client roster included Barbara Stanwyck, Elvis and Priscilla Presley, Bill Cosby, Natalie Wood, Clint Eastwood and Gerald and Betty Ford, died at age 89. NYT

Retired judge Vaino Spencer, the first African American woman appointed to a judgeship in California when she was named to the LA Municipal Court in 1961, died at age 96. She served 46 years between in Muni Court, Superior Court and the state Court of Appeal. LAT, AP


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