L.A. Attorney, Downtown News Buy 2 Weeklies

Times Staff Writer

Two small weekly newspapers in Pasadena and Altadena were sold Wednesday to a prominent Los Angeles attorney and the owner of the weekly Downtown News.

National Media Inc. sold the Pasadena Weekly and the Altadena Weekly for an undisclosed amount to Riordan & Laris Publications, a partnership of Richard J. Riordan, senior partner in the Riordan & McKinzie law firm, and Susan R. Laris, founder and president of the Downtown News Group. The 3-year-old Pasadena and Altadena papers, primarily distributed free of charge, have a combined circulation of about 50,000.

National Media sold the two papers because "we have a terrific, growing and very exciting market in the Los Angeles area" through the Los Angeles Independent, the rechristened version of 11 weekly newspapers it bought in 1986, said President Stephen C. Laxineta.

Looking for Niche

Laris said the papers will concentrate on local news and will have "the most complete listing of arts and entertainment events in the San Gabriel Valley."

"The community is going to determine the editorial focus," said Laris, who started her downtown Los Angeles weekly in 1972 at the kitchen table of her Altadena home with an initial investment of $1,400. "We have to find a niche for ourselves or there's no reason to exist."

The editorial and advertising offices of the Pasadena and Altadena weeklies will remain in Pasadena, but production will be combined at the Downtown News headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. However, the 110,000 circulation Downtown News, formerly called the Civic Center News, will continue to be a separate publication and is not owned by Riordan & Laris Publications.

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