Newsroom Meddling, Money Woes: How A Billionaire Owner Lost His Star Editor at the Los Angeles Times | Exclusive

Respected editor Kevin Merida abruptly resigned last week after getting fed up with owner interference in the newsroom  

Kevin Merida and Patrick Soon-Shiong LA Times
Kevin Merida and Patrick Soon-Shiong LA Times

It wasn’t a coincidence that Kevin Merida did not call his boss, Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, to warn him that a resignation was coming.  

He did call his top editorial deputies and prepare them. But when the 67-year-old executive editor announced on Tuesday that he was stepping down after less than three years — five months before his contract was up — it came as a surprise, according to two people informed of the timing. 

The newsroom, too, was shocked. 

But perhaps they should not have been. In interviews with a half-dozen individuals close to the LA Times news operation, it became clear that Merida’s relationship with Soon-Shiong — though never close — had broken down irreparably by the end of last year over the owner’s interference in newsroom decisions, a lack of support for Merida’s independence as editorial leader and ongoing financial losses with no apparent plan to reverse them.


11 responses to “Newsroom Meddling, Money Woes: How A Billionaire Owner Lost His Star Editor at the Los Angeles Times | Exclusive”

  1. bruce dickson Avatar
    bruce dickson

    Wow.  What’s useful here is it paints the picture of the GENERATIONAL divide both LATimes and NYTimes are tone-deaf too.  To increase readership among younger generations, both papers need to jettison their tired old, neoliberal, Boomer, centrist orientation and get with the center-left where younger generations are.  Both papers need to move towards, not away from, the Observer and to a lesser degree The Nation.  This is where younger readers are.   

    In my mind, an ideal solution here is to hire Harold Meyerson of as editor.  Under Jay Levin, the 1990s LA Weekly was way ahead of its time, read by a small but influential demographic of progressive Boomer Cultural Creatives across multiple fields and industries.  
    What I suspect is younger generations have now caught up the the 1990s LA Weekly mix of arts, culture and center left politics.  
    Evidence for this is the pro-Palestinian leanings of the LATimes owner and his daughter, described above.  
    Comments invited.  Other progressive journalists who might make good LATimes editors welcomed.  

    1. Robert Avatar

      Younger generations do not read. Furthermore, those twenty “journalists” should have been fired, not suspended. That said, I don’t know how the LA Times could become even more amateurish than it already has become, so who knows, it *might* become better.

      (But The Prospect is the last model I would use in such effort. That is not a paper at all, but an opinion magazine.)

      1. wolflen Avatar

        ahhh..and a “far left/progressive” opinion “newspaper” at that..!

  2. Phil Rose Avatar
    Phil Rose

    I’m sorry but if he OWNS it it isn’t meddling.  It’s running his business as he sees fit.  Journalists hate accountability.  

    1. badboj Avatar

      Winner winner chicken dinner!

  3. DB Avatar

    Usually those who own media outlets just hire and promote people who hold the same political views as they do and retire or refuse to promote those who don’t.

  4. wolflen Avatar

    A very good insight into the inner workings of the paper.

    The reality is the paper has no competition in print media and is in financial crisis.
    The owner and his daughter have influenced, if not controlled the content of the editorials with the major theme of “..I know whats good for you / Do as your told!..” As I watch the paper die, as did “progressive talk radio” years this digital age I wonder..will it be missed at all.


    I have subscribed to the LA Times, continually without interruption since 1966 when I went to USC on a Journalism scholarship.  I cancelled last week.  I just got sick and tired of opinions blatantly woven into so-called “news” stories, always bursting with far-from-subtle loaded language.  It’s not a newspaper anymore and hasn’t been for some time now.  It is, like most, now simply a member of the Pfizer Media Group.  Soon-Shiong is sure to lose many, many more millions. 

    1. Robert Avatar

      Precisely. One should not be able to tell at all the political leanings of a journalist .. I recall when Dan Rather and others caused a stir when they stated that a reporter imbedded with the Viet Cong should not warn Allied troops of walking in a trap, due to the strict adherence to the code of being a fly on the wall with no opinion .. and yes sticking to it does take toll, but that is the job and the calling .. as with Priests at Confession.

  6. Frank Avatar

    Not going to grow subscriber base as long as it remains a left wing echo chamber, vice a true news source.

  7. Mari Avatar

    I only know one person who reads the LATimes. She’s in her 60s.  LA and S California is an area of immigrants. They have no sympathy for native born black criminals. But for my entire long lifetime LATimes defends black criminals and makes heroes out of them. Many Angelenos blamed LATimes anti police pro black criminal coverage for the destructive Rodney King riots.  The black percentage of California declines every year. But the LATimes covers black issues and ignores every other demographic.  Worse, LATimes always always advocates for black criminals, against police and ignores the victims Always. And encourages black riots.
    It seems the editors and every single writer thinks it’s 1960 and they are marching with Martin Luther King and Los Angeles is the rural south where blacks are lunched as sport every week by the KKK members And all Los Angeles police are Nazis or KKK members. And the huge percentage of not black not White immigrants aren’t interested in the massive coverage of black issues.

    It’s 2023, not 1963 the civil rights era. Los Angeles isn’t a majority black city like Washington DC Atlanta or Detroit  LATimes is 60 years out of date. And needs to look at the census.  
    Angelinos want criminals off the street. We don’t want to be attacked robbed and worse.  And we don’t want to read articles glorifying criminals and making heroes out of them. LATimes has made saints out of criminals my entire long lifetime  

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