Two days after massive layoffs in the editorial department at LA Weekly, new operations manager Brian Calle is pulling back the curtain on the new owners of the magazine.
He did it in a dramatic post titled, “And the New Owners Are …”
Can you hear the drumroll, too?
Calle, the former chief opinion writer for Southern California News Group, acknowledged the “speculation” about the magazine’s new ownership, which until now has been shrouded in mystery behind the buyer group Semanal Media, LLC, created for the sole purpose of purchasing the LA Weekly.
He asked in his post: “Is it a Russian oligarch? Is it some Trumpista? Is it Lord Voldemort?”
No. The new investors include Calle and David Welch, a cannabis lawyer who we already knew about.
The other new players are Kevin Xu, who is described as a “philanthropist and investor”; attorney and investor Steve Mehr; hotel developer Paul Makarechian; Mike Mugel, a real estate “redeveloper”; investor Andy Bequer, according to Calle, who added that UC Berkeley’s law school dean Erwin Chemerinsky also plans to invest.
Calle said the plan is to “transform from a newspaper with a website into a truly digital media outlet — which also happens to have a very cool print component,” and that he hopes the magazine will once again become the “cultural center of the city.”
Calle blamed the magazine’s failure to launch in the digital age as the reason for its recent financial struggles, and said he is “eager to move forward on that journey with our amazing existing staff members.”
He said all this, of course, two days after nine of 13 editorial staffers were laid off from their jobs at LA Weekly — despite earning 21 LA Press Club nominations this year.
The only remaining editorial staffers currently are creative director Darrick Rainey, copy chief Lisa Horowitz, writer Hillel Aron and listings editor Falling James.