Soon-Shiong assumes the role of executive chairman of California News Group and names respected journalist Norman Pearlstine executive editor of the Los Angeles Times
Jeff Light, editor-in-chief and publisher of the San Diego Union-Tribune, to continue in his role
Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong today announced he has completed the purchase of the Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union-Tribune and other entities in the California News Group, assuming full ownership from Tronc (NASDAQ: TRNC).
Soon-Shiong completed the purchase of the California News Group titles through NantCapital, his personal investment company. Soon-Shiong will serve as executive chairman of the California News Group, restoring local ownership to some of the top news organizations in the West.
“My family and I are truly honored and privileged to assume the mantle of the Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune and the California News Group. These are storied institutions of democracy, and I am humbled to lead them into a new era of local ownership,” Soon-Shiong said. “As an immigrant from South Africa who lived under Apartheid, this is a dream come true.”
“This purchase is personal to me: It’s about protecting vital institutions because they are a core to our democratic values. I believe that fake news is the cancer of our times. Institutions like The Times and the Union-Tribune are more vital than ever. They have been bastions of editorial integrity and independence with a long record of seeking and finding truth while fighting fake news.”
Soon-Shiong is appointing Norman Pearlstine, an accomplished media executive and respected editor, to serve as executive editor of the Los Angeles Times. Pearlstine retired as vice chairman of Time Inc. last year, having previously served as its chief content officer and editor-in-chief. Pearlstine also served as the top editor at the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. He begins at the Los Angeles Times immediately.
Soon-Shiong said of Pearlstine: “I want The Times to reflect my commitment to editorial independence, integrity and innovation. Norm exemplifies that commitment. He shares my admiration for The Times’ staff and the work they produce. He also has a sharp eye for talent. He will help us develop and, where necessary, recruit best in class journalists as we begin to augment current offerings with new products for new customers on new platforms.”
“I am grateful to Dr. Soon-Shiong for giving me the opportunity to work with him,” Pearlstine said. “He has a singular vision for the Los Angeles Times. He wants The Times to be his and his wife Michele’s legacy. His passion for cutting-edge research, his love of media and of Los Angeles, and his determination that The Times reflect the diversity of the communities it serves is inspiring.”
Jeff Light, editor-in-chief and publisher of the San Diego Union-Tribune, will continue in his role.
“Dr. Soon-Shiong has shared with me his commitment to journalism and some of his vision for the future and I couldn’t be more excited to work with him and continue to deliver the highest quality journalism for our San Diego audience,” Light said.
Soon-Shiong’s priority for the publications will be an investment in key newsroom resources, as well as the relocation of the Los Angeles Times to its new permanent location in El Segundo. The move will be completed by the end of July.
“I grew up believing the best newspapers ‘speak truth to power as the voice of the people,’” Soon-Shiong said. “In the months and years ahead, our publications will compete with the biggest news organizations in the world, providing the platform to explore the future of media.”
Soon-Shiong’s purchase includes the Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union-Tribune, Los Angeles Times en Español (previously Hoy Los Angeles) and other publications, including well known community newspapers, under the California News Group.