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The Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County's Oldest
and Highest Circulation Newspaper

Front lobby in the Los Angeles Times Building. Photo by Felicia Aparicio.

The Los Angeles Times was first published in 1881 as the Los Angeles Daily Times. Not long afterwards, the newspaper’s printer, the Mirror Printing Office and Book Bindery, took over ownership after the original owners could no longer afford to stay in business. Harrison Gray Otis, a former military officer, soon thereafter joined the paper as a writer and later as editor. Otis was so successful at turning the paper around that he and a partner were able to buy out the newspaper (Times) and the printing company (Mirror). In 1884, the printer and paper were incorporated as the Times-Mirror Company. In 1886, Otis bought out his partner's half and assumed full control of the company.

Under Otis, the Los Angeles Times grew with the city and became a major promoter of business and development. The LA Times (and Otis) often clashed with anyone or anything perceived to be a hindrance to pro-growth and pro-business. This led to vehement conflict with organized labor and dramatically resulted in the 1910 bombing of the newspaper’s printing plant (resulting in 21 deaths) and subsequent conviction of two labor leaders in a highly publicized trial.

Aftermath of bombing of Los Angeles Times Building, 1910. Photo from Security National Bank Collection, courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library.

By the mid-1940s, the LA Times had become the leading daily newspaper in Los Angeles. The paper is now the largest metropolitan daily newspaper in the United States. It circulates 1.1 million copies of the daily edition and 1.3 million copies of the Sunday edition. It boasts 22 foreign bureaus and 15 domestic U.S. bureaus. It has the largest editorial staff of any newspaper in the nation. It has received 23 Pulitzer Prizes.

Lobby display list of Pulitzer Prizes won by the Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Almanac Photo.

The LA Times is published daily in four regional editions (Los Angeles Metro, San Fernando Valley, Orange County and Ventura County). A national edition is published on the East Coast and in Northern and Southern California. The paper is distributed daily in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Las Vegas, New York and Washington DC.

Los Angeles Times editorial meeting room. Los Angeles Almanac Photo.

The LA Times maintains the website latimes.com. Each day the site features more than 50,000 content pages and more than 35,000 stories.

In March 2000, the parent company of the LA Times, the Times-Mirror Corporation, announced that it would be bought out by the Chicago-based Tribune Company (currently renamed tronc, Inc). The completion of the sale came the following summer. Los Angeles thereafter became the largest city in the nation with no locally-owned, wide-circulation, general interest daily newspaper.

On February 7, 2018, Los Angeles billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, one of the wealthiest individuals in Los Angeles County, announced his purchase of the Los Angeles Times from Tronc Inc. for $500 million, bringing local ownership back to the 136-year old newspaper after 18 years. The purchase included other Southern California newspapers such as the San Diego Union-Tribune, Hoy (a Spanish-language newspaper), and several community newspapers (including the Glendale News-Press). In April 2018, Soon-Shiong announced to Times staff that the newspaper would be moving from its headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles to a new location in El Segundo. The newspaper had operated from its historic building at First and Spring Streets since 1935. The building, however, is not owned by the Times. The decision to move was said to result from the Times and the building’s Canadian-based owners widely differing on how (and how much) to continue the lease.

Los Angeles Times Building in lower left against Downtown Los Angeles skyline. Photo by Felicia Aparicio.