Thursday, April 3, 2008

Singleton: 'Digging for marrow'

The LA Weekly has caught up with the carnage in Dean Singleton's Southern California media empire.

“They’re way past stripping the paper to the bone,” said Joe Segura, of the Long Beach Press-Telegram. “They’re digging for marrow now.”

I wrote last month about the bloodletting at my last paper, the LA Daily News -- which appears to have received a final, fatal blow this week -- but the Weekly also discusses the pain being felt at the papers where I started my career, the two-for-one Sun in San Bernardino and Daily Bulletin in Ontario.
WHEN SINGLETON BOUGHT a controlling interest in the Bulletin in 1997, it was part of a blitzkrieg that before long led him to own every daily in the region, outside of the Times, the Register in Orange County and the Press Enterprise in Riverside. The Times became part of that story when it was revealed that its then–parent company, Times-Mirror, had helped to finance Singleton’s purchase of the Daily News, arguably in order to prevent a serious journalistic competitor from moving into town to challenge it.

For Daily News staffers like Mariel Garza, who covered Los Angeles City Hall for two years and has been a Daily News editorial writer for the past four years, the slow bleed in Woodland Hills has been akin to watching a friend succumb to a terminal illness.

Garza said the recent layoffs, coupled with a long period of attrition, have left the San Fernando Valley newsroom demoralized and fearing the paper’s demise.

“It’s like watching a loved one that’s wasting away from Alzheimer’s,” Garza said. “It’s tragic to watch.”

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