Tribune Publishing’s Board of Directors pledged its support for the L.A. Times on Thursday, calling the embattled paper a “cornerstone of our company’s portfolio and a key component to our success in the future.”
The members called the California News Group, featuring the Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, “world-class institutions” they are “deeply committed to.”
They also doubled down on CEO Jack Griffin, new L.A. Times publisher Tim Ryan and the company’s management team.
The vote of confidence from Tribune comes on the heels of former publisher Austin Beutner’s firing last week and the resultant resignations of three of his top hires.
Shares in Tribune Publishing have plummeted in the last year, down over 50 percent, leaving the company’s market value at $295 million and its stock price at $11 a share.
The paper is still a behemoth, ranking fourth in daily circulation (489,000 daily readers) after the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and USA Today. But in the last decade, no major daily paper has hemorrhaged readership faster than The L.A. Times; Beutner didn’t stop the bleeding either: daily circulation is down to 489,000 readers compared to 739,147 daily readers in early 2014.
For Tribune, California papers are its publishing revenue plow horses, so removing Beutner is a clear sign that the bosses are eager to turn around the paper’s dwindling circulation. The vote of confidence in the paper only further signifies how important the success of the L.A. Times is for Tribune.