Los Angeles Downtown News, which for 47 years has served residents and workers in Downtown Los Angeles, has been sold to Tempe, Ariz.-based Times Media Group. The acquisition is part of TMG’s purchase of Southland Publishing.
TMG owns more than 15 Arizona publications and websites, including the Pulitzer-Prize-winning East Valley Tribune. In a press release, Times Media Group President Steve Strickbine called the Southland purchase a strategic expansion step into Southern California.
“Our primary goal at Times Media Group is to grow the number of readers we serve with community news, because we believe telling great stories and bringing tangible value to our advertising partners is a recipe for continued success not just in Arizona, but anywhere,” said Strickbine. “The Southland publications have always been special in their connection with the communities they serve. We can’t wait to further solidify that connection and do even more to demonstrate our commitment to our readers, our advertisers and our neighbors.”
In addition to Downtown News, Times Media Group acquired Pasadena Weekly, The Argonaut, the VC Reporter and San Diego City Beat. The purchase also includes three monthly magazines and Southland’s digital properties. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Strickbine, 48, is a former CPA who quit his job in 1997 to start a weekly community newspaper in North Scottsdale.
Southland Publishing was founded in 1997. Its newspapers, magazines and digital media properties have a combined monthly circulation of more than 1 million readers and web visitors.
“Southland Publishing and I have been very proud of these publications, and our employees who have made them such important parts of the communities they serve, and we are confident that Steve Strickbine and his company will be wonderful stewards of these publications and that the readers and advertisers that continue to support them are in good hands,” Southland Publishing President Bruce Bolkin said in a prepared statement.
Downtown News was founded in 1972 by Sue Laris, and for more than four decades she served as its editor, publisher and owner. She sold Downtown News to Southland in 2017.
In announcing the acquisition, Strickbine called the Southland properties “exactly the kind of special journalism operations we want to be a part of TMG.” He cited L.A. Downtown News as an example of Southland’s quality and independent spirit.
“What these publications do is the most important thing in journalism, at least as we see it,” said Strickbine. “Every community has stories that need to be told. What’s happening at City Hall? What business just opened? Which ones have closed? Who are our leaders and what sort of transparency and accountability do they practice? The more local we can be, the more in-depth, the better we connect people to one another and to the community. We love being a part of that and we look forward to working with these publications starting as soon as possible.”