Tronc: Ex-Times publisher cleared of wrongdoing

Tronc: Ex-Times publisher cleared of wrongdoing

For the Union-Tribune, which this year marks its 150th anniversary, Soon-Shiong will be the fifth owner in the past decade.

Neither Soon-Shiong nor Tronc responded to requests for comment made by the FT.

Publisher John Puerner stepped down at the Times, as did his successor, Jeffrey Johnson, shortly after.

Most recently, it won the 2016 prize for breaking news reporting for its coverage of the San Bernardino terrorist attack on a Christmas party and the ensuing pursuit of the husband and wife mass shooters.

"Its forerunner, Tribune Co., bought the Times in 2000, and the ensuing years - coinciding with upheaval in the newspaper industry and declining readership - have been marked with tensions over numerous staff and spending cutbacks".

The Los Angeles Times newsroom voted to unionize January 19, 2018.

Soon-Shiong made the bulk of his fortune selling two of the drug companies that he founded for a total of almost $9 billion a decade ago. As head of Tronc, he reportedly paid himself $5 million for the first quarters of 2018, 2019 and 2020 for being a consultant through his company, Merrick Ventures, LLC, totaling $15 million.

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The paper's journalists voted overwhelmingly last month to form a union. It owns 10 US newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and New York Daily News.

Soon-Shiong has limited connections to San Diego, including timeshares he's owned since 2001 at the Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara in Carlsbad.

"But it solves several issues by taking care of a disgruntled shareholder, Dr. Soon-Shiong, and also eliminating the Los Angeles Times, which has arguably been a problem child for this management group for years", added Arthur.

In a separate statement, Tronc said it acquired a majority ownership stake in BestReviews, an online product review company based in San Francisco. Then, even as employees celebrated their vote to unionise for the first time in the paper's 136-year history, Mr Levinsohn was put on leave after National Public Radio published a report that detailed allegations of sexual harassment against him when he was at other companies. After just five months as the paper's top editor, D'Vorkin became the chief content officer at Tronc instead.

Those hires sparked fears that the business side would wield undue influence in editorial matters.

A return to local ownership would restore pride at the Times, said veteran media business analyst Ken Doctor.

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