Weeklies

LA Weekly sold to mystery buyer and into uncertain future

laweekly-grim-sleeper.jpgThe Los Angeles serial murder mystery known as the Grim Sleeper was basically cracked by an LA Weekly reporter, Christine Pelisek.


The folks at LA Weekly were informed on Wednesday that the venerable free Los Angeles alt-weekly has been sold by owner Voice Media Group. The deal is expected to close in about two weeks. That's about all the Weekly's story was allowed to say, except that the buyer is something called Semanal Media, LLC.

The Los Angeles Business Journal and the Los Angeles Times tried to find out more about Semanal Media, but about all that's known is it has a contact at an LA law firm. "The buyer, Semanal Media, is a new entity created for the purpose of this transaction," the Times was told by the Santa Fe merger and acquisition firm representing the seller.

It's believed around the LA Weekly offices that the buyer may share a lawyer with marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles. So that's something. Also this: the union that represents Weekly employees was given a formal notice that upon closure of the sale, "the bargaining unit employees’ employment with the Company will terminate. Because those employees will be terminated for a reason other than just cause, the Company will make severance payments to any employees who are eligible..."

laweeekly-notice.jpg

Employment with the Company will terminate. Doesn't sound good. Nothing so far on Twitter from the top editor Mara Shalhoup. You may remember, food critic Besha Rodell recently left LA Weekly to return to her native Australia.

Just last week, at another local alt-weekly that Voice Media Group divested itself of — OC Weekly — editor Gustavo Arellano resigned rather than agree to a demand to lay off half of his staff. The weekly retains rights to his long-running Ask a Mexican column, but Arellano says it will resume in some form with a new title. Also this:

The LA Weekly was put up for sale in January and at the time was described as profitable. It was just the latest in a string of changing circumstances that began I guess when the original LA Weekly became part of Village Voice Media then, in 2005, was sold into the New Times Media chain. It fell into the newly created Voice Media Group in 2012.

Here's a little time travel back to the LA Weekly's founding in 1978. The LA Weekly is where Jonathan Gold won his Pulitzer Prize for food writing — he left for the LA Times in 2012 — and through the years the paper has been a proving ground for many journalists and writers who went on to later careers. There was a time as well when the LA Weekly broke a lot of news in politics, crime and the arts and served as a home journal of sorts for the progressive left in Los Angeles. It still makes news these days, but with a much smaller staff and scaled-back ambitions relative to the heyday.

Here's our archive of sporadic posts about the weeklies in the area.


More by Kevin Roderick:
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LA Observed Notes: LAT's turn to break sex harassment news
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LA Weekly sold to mystery buyer and into uncertain future
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