Business Journal Editorial

A Newspaper War?

August 02, 2013 – Is there a newspaper war looming in Long Beach? Some media experts seem to think so. The July 24 headline in USA Today read: “Against all odds, a new newspaper war erupts.”

On the one side is the hundred-plus year old Press-Telegram, which has dwindled in size and readership, and its once strong physical presence in the city (750 employees in a six-story building) is now miniscule. (To be fair, nearly all dailies in the country have experienced a similar fate.) Most of the P-T’s workforce operates from offices in Torrance. The biggest rap against it is that it lacks local news, or at least enough to attract more readers. But P-T execs said they welcome the competition. Really?

On the other side is the August 19 launch of the Long Beach Register, a daily newspaper by Freedom Communications, owner of the Orange County Register.

Are we on the verge of a serious conflict or is it more of a pillow fight? Try this. Type www.longbeachregister.com and see what comes up. Yup, the Press-Telegram (P-T). A little in-your-face, we suppose, or maybe it’s gotcha! Now we hear that the sales forces of the P-T and the Grunion Gazette (a weekly newspaper with all local news), can sell ads in each other’s newspapers (both publications are owned by the same company, MediaNews Group), and stories by Grunion writers can appear in the P-T and vice versa.

Did we mention that a former publisher of the P-T is the publisher of the Long Beach Register and his reporters will be doing local news only? This ought to be fun.

The August 13 issue of the Business Journal features an interview with Ian Lamont, publisher of the Long Beach Register.