A Facebook page devoted to bringing the Los Angeles Times back to San Diego County has gotten public attention after only four days.
Launched Tuesday, the page had 280 “Likes” as of 4 p.m. Friday. It follows news that U-T San Diego had agreed to buy the North County Times and that its CEO, John Lynch, expressed an interest in taking the company national through other newspaper acquisitions.
But the Times, owned by Chicago-based Tribune Co., had little to say about the effort.
“We don’t have anything to announce, but will keep you posted if that changes,” Times spokeswoman Nancy Sullivan said Friday in response to a Patch request for comment.
Asked whether the Times were considering reopening San Diego offices and resuming a San Diego County edition, Sullivan replied: “We don’t have comment beyond what I’ve stated.”
The Facebook page appealing for a Times return carries the description: “Sending out an SOS to the L.A. Times about our need for quality journalism here in SD. Send in reinforcements for Tony Perry—we’ll subscribe!”
Perry, a former reporter for the San Diego Union, is the longtime chief San Diego correspondent for the Times. Perry’s business writer wife, Ann, once worked for the Union-Tribune as well.
A Los Angeles-based media blog Tuesday noted the nascent effort, with Matthew Fleischer calling a San Diego edition of the Times “a good idea to us” and added:
The New York Times’ strategy for staying competitive is to go national. One would think there could be some money to be made by expanding the Times’ footprint in California. Who knows, the San Diego section could even be online only. ... If done right, that could be enough to convince ... at least 10,000 news-starved San Diegans to shell out for online access and a Sunday paper.”
According to a New York Times account, the San Diego County edition of the Los Angeles Times began in 1978 but closed in late December 1992—10 months after the morning San Diego Union and the afternoon Tribune merged to become the Union-Tribune. The Times added:
The San Diego edition of The Times was gaining slightly in circulation and advertising, but not enough to keep it alive, said Phyllis Pfeiffer, the edition’s general manager. The circulation of The Times in San Diego was some 60,000, while The Union-Tribune’s daily average is 380,000.
“Our study of the long-term prospects showed we could continue to grow, but in small numbers,” she said. “Otis Chandler’s dream of being a newspaper from Santa Barbara to Tijuana isn’t going to happen in this economy.”
Meanwhile, in other San Diego media news:
- Voice of San Diego has hired Sara Libby as managing editor, according to a tweet by Voice CEO Scott Lewis. Libby has been associate editor of TPM, or Talking Points Memo, a politics site based in New York City with a bureau in Washington.
- Business reporter Tanya Mannes has left U-T San Diego for a job as public information officer for the San Diego Unified Port District, she also announced via Twitter.
- Investigative reporter Ashly McGlone’s last day as a Watchdog beat writer for U-T San Diego was today [Friday], she said via Twitter. In reply to a query, McGlone said she was headed to the Bay Area “for married life and hopefully more investigative journalism.’’
- Investigative reporter Jen Lebron Kuhney of U-T San Diego announced she has accepted a job at the Arizona Republic, tweeting: “My last day at the U-T is Oct. 5. Here’s to new beginnings!”
- Last week, veteran East County reporter Steve Schmidt left U-T San Diego to work as communications adviser for county Supervisor Dianne Jacob.