LA Observed Notes: A fight for Tronc, media moves and more

Our occasional roundup on media, politics and place from multiple sources. For more join 24,288 followers @LAObserved on Twitter.

At the top

soon-shiong-512-tw.jpgLast week, Lynne Marek at Crain's Chicago Business revealed a struggle for control of Tronc — parent company of the LA Times — between chairman Michael Ferro and Patrick Soon-Shiong, the ambitious LA billionaire who Ferro brought in to help fend off a takeover from Gannett. Now the LA Business Journal reports that Soon-Shiong has managed to acquire 24 percent of Tronc stock, "nearly overtaking Tronc's largest shareholder, Michael Ferro, in a move that may further stoke rumors he could be positioning himself to make a run at the company." Hold everything Gladys, we have an old-fashioned board room fight on our hands. Ken Doctor at The Street this morning notes Soon-Shiong's long ambition to own the LA Times and analyzes the latest. The Times could end up with local ownership after all. Soon-Shiong is a medical doctor and inventor who is using his considerable biotech fortune on a self-proclaimed research crusade to end cancer in his lifetime, has a small stake in the Lakers and has recently said good things about Donald Trump. Soon-Shiong tweets here.

• joe-bel-bruno-variety-manag.jpgVariety announced Tuesday that its new managing editor is Joe Bel Bruno, an alumnus of the LA Times, Wall Street Journal and AP who is currently the news director at the Hollywood Reporter. He will "help guide the continuing global expansion of Hollywood’s top entertainment news organization across its print, digital, and video platforms," Variety says. Bel Bruno will "help coordinate the long-range planning of cover stories, feature packages and photo shoots" and report to editors-in-chief Claudia Eller and Andrew Wallenstein.

• The conservative and mostly pro-Trump editorial page at the Wall Street Journal has had it with the president's lack of truth. "If President Trump announces that North Korea launched a missile that landed within 100 miles of Hawaii, would most Americans believe him? Would the rest of the world? We're not sure, which speaks to the damage that Mr. Trump is doing to his Presidency with his seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods. ... [T]he President clings to his assertion like a drunk to an empty gin bottle." "Blistering," says Joe Pompeo at Politico Media.

• Los Angeles Magazine's longtime food editor, Lesley Bargar Suter, is leaving too, three weeks after the exits of editors Mary Melton and Amy Wallace. No future plans were revealed in this LA Weekly piece by Besha Rodell. Bargar Suter had led food coverage for 10 years and "is hugely respected in the food and journalism communities, in Los Angeles as well as nationally."

• The New York Times talks about Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee and a piercing critic of President Trump in the House and on Twitter, as a candidate for the Senate if Dianne Feinstein retires. "Youthful, with a ruddy and cheerful visage, Mr. Schiff, 56, whose wife is actually named Eve, comes off like the guy who in high school talked to his prom date’s mother in the kitchen about the goings-on at the community garden. But when he wants to hit, he does." NYT

• "Angeleno" is a new half-hour documentary series from filmmaker Peter Jones that debuts Sunday April 2 at 6 p.m. on PBS SoCal. "A character-driven exploration of multi-cultural Los Angeles through the unique individual experience," says the flackage. Patt Morrison hosts and the first seven episodes will feature “Sweet” Alice Harris, Charles Phoenix, Peter Shire, Levi Ponce and others.

• Many fewer Latinos are reporting sexual assault and domestic violence this year, LAPD Chief Beck says, and fear of deportation for contacting police or testifying is blamed.

• richmond-ad.jpgFirst-time playwright Ray Richmond says the LA Times rejected this ad for "Transition," his two-person political play running at The Lounge Theatre in Hollywood. He says the objection given was that the ad uses the likenesses of Presidents Trump and Obama and also the Twitter trademark, but Richmond calls "censorship....This is an admission of partisanship and caving in to political pressure in an atmosphere of fear." Uh, political pressure?

• The annual African Global Economic and Development Summit at USC had no attendees from Africa this year: at least 60 were denied visas, organizers say.

• What ever happened to the Los Angeles gangbanger of lore? Photographer Joseph Rodriguez and writer Rubén Martínez in last Sunday's New York Times opinion section.

• In one hugely disruptive week in may, Delta Airlines will move to Terminals 2 and 3 at LAX and more than 20 other airlines will relocate to other terminals. Good luck with that.

Media notes

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox Inc is said to be contemplating a move to thwart Sinclair Broadcast Group from acquiring the TV stations of Tribune Media, including KTLA Channel 5 in Los Angeles... Maggie Haberman, White House reporter for the New York Times, tells The Wrap she is helped by Trump knowing her from previous gigs at the New York Post and NY Daily News... How Dallas police found and arrested a Maryland man accused of posting a strobing GIF intended to trigger a seizure in reporter Kurt Eichenwald. Ars Technica... Clippers owner Steve Ballmer spent an hour on Bill Simmons' podcast talking about the NBA, the Clippers and Microsoft... MY/fm (KBIG) claimed the top in the morning radio ratings for the first time in over a year , says Don Barrett at LA Radio... Radio sports fixture Vic "The Brick" Jacobs" disclosed last week that he has been diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. Lots of nice messages his way from LA sports figures... KTLA Morning News so-host Chris Schauble is profiled by his hometown Santa Clarita Valley Signal... On the schedule for the LA Times Festival of Books: Editor and publisher Davan Maharaj interviews Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Boyarsky moderates a panel on women and a tribute panel to the late historian Kevin Starr... The LA Drama Critics Circle handed out its annual awards... The New York Times Magazine sent a North Carolina writer to Hawaii for a travel story in this weekend's issue and need not have bothered. He didn't have a clue, he didn't get it, he didn't like it and everybody associated with this story looks bad.


White House press secretary Sean Spicer has lost all credibility, CNN's Dylan Byers says in a reported story... Strong ties between Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch and Philip Anchutz, the conservative Denver billionaire who is a major player in downtown Los Angeles, European soccer and other fields... Voter participation in this month's Los Angeles city election reached 21.27 percent by the ballots were counted, so it's not a record low turnout... The DA's office confirms it is reviewing a complaint that Councilman Curren Price was still legally married when he married his current wife. His 2011 divorce may not have become final. Questions were raised in February by by Daniel Guss at CityWatch.

alejandracampoverdi-6-14896.jpgAnd in the CD 34 race: The national media have discovered the contest for the open seat in Congress vacated by AG Xavier Becerra, the first to be contested since Trump took office. Former Times editor Alejandra Capoverdi writes in Cosmopolitan about sexism and the responses to her long-ago Maxim photo shoot: "I, of all people, shouldn’t have been that surprised. Sexism and misogyny are nothing new in politics. Female political staffers and politicians have been facing off-color comments and leering glances and have been excluded from “at capacity” meetings for decades. In fact, I assumed I’d already faced my biggest dose of sexism back in 2009."... Raymond Meza is profiled by Teen Vogue as one who "could become the first openly gay Latinx congressman."... Expect more drop-in coverage the closer to the April 4 primary. Top two of 23 candidates get into the runoff. My weekly segment on KCRW.

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Read the memo: LA Times hires again
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