Newspaper battle: Los Angeles. Amid all the doom and gloom stories from the newspaper sector this year, the most astonishing occurred early this month with the news a new daily paper for Los Angeles will start in early January. It is the second paper in the LA area announced by the same company this year. With possible buyers still circling The LA Times (owned by the Tribune Co of Chicago, and with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp the most mentioned possible buyer), news of the new paper — from Freedom Communications, owner of the nearby Orange County Register — will shake the US newspaper industry.

Last month, Freedom bought the Riverside Press-Enterprise, the biggest inland newspaper in the LA area, for $US27 million from Dallas-based A.H. Belo Corp. Freedom and Kushner will be taking on The LA Times and the Los Angeles Daily News, both of which have recorded significant slides in revenue and readership. Freedom Communications is owned by an investor group headed by businessman Aaron Kushner. Freedom says it will run a new paper but use resources from its existing papers, as well as hiring new journalists.

According to the latest data from the US Alliance for Audited Media (the old Audit Bureau of Circulation), The LA Times’ daily circulation is 628,471 while The Daily News’ is 69,583. As of last March, the daily circulation of The Orange County Register was 356,163. The sales of all three papers have fallen in the last five years, revenue has plunged, and the sizes of the Times and News have shrunk noticeably (as have all papers around the world). But according to a recent story in The Columbia Journalism Review, Freedom must be doing something right:

“A recent run-of-the-mill Monday edition had 72 pages and eight standalone sections. The Los Angeles Times — once the Register’s hated rival in Orange County and a paper with nearly three times its print circulation — published 38 pages the same day.”

The acquisition of the Riverside paper, combined with a new Long Beach daily in July, means that from January Freedom’s papers will have vast reach in a heavily populated region in the biggest urban area in the most populated state in the country (and the state with the biggest GDP). Glenn Dyer

Correction of the day. The Australian has a doozy of a correction this morning. It may have suggested that someone participated in a murder, but he did not …

The Australian correction

Nots indeed. We chuckled to get this transcript from Education Minister Christopher Pyne’s office from a conversation between Pyne and Sky News’ Graham Richardson …

rate of nots

A typo? Or perhaps it was exactly what Pyne said, as the Education Minister has been saying “no” a lot lately — no to not committing to the Gonski education reforms, then no to implementing Gonski, then no to not implementing it again. Or maybe Pyne’s been taking the Coalition’s message on asylum seekers to heart. Operation Sovereign Borders commander Angus Campbell’s favourite phrase is “we do not comment on on-water matters”. Perhaps that includes metaphors.

Pooh rampage. According to the headline and photo on the front page of The Brampton Guardian (a local Canadian paper), Winnie-the-Pooh and his furry companion have been up to no good. And so close to Christmas, too …


Video of the day. We welcome home our troops today as Australia’s military involvement in Afghanistan officially ends. We wonder if any of the returning armed services personnel surprised their children for Christmas, as these American soldiers did in this heart-warming video …

returning soldiers

Peter Fray

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