Former investment banker Austin Beutner was First Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles under Antonio Villaraigosa. He raised $600,000 to run for mayor on his own, but dropped out before the campaign really began. Then, his plan to run the Los Angeles Times as a non-profit with fellow investors fell through, but now he’s signed on as publisher of the paper he wanted to buy.
“I’ve come to work everyday to help the L.A. Times prosper and that’s what were working for,” Beutner told Warren Olney on Which Way, LA?, adding that the paper is “not for sale.”
It’s not an easy time for print. Ad revenue has declined precipitously since 2000 and hasn’t been replaced by money made off of digital advertising. That said, Beutner remains optimistic. “We make profit today and my hope and expectation is that we continue to do so,” said Beutner. “I think he best measure of the impact we can make and how essential our content and conversation is, is that people are willing to pay us for it.”
As many papers close bureaus around the world, Buetner says the Los Angeles Times is committed to continuing international coverage that resonates in Los Angeles. “Lots of the rest of the world matters here. It’s important that we have reporters on the ground in China, in India, in Afghanistan, in London,” he said, underlining the importance of keeping eyes and ears in many communities. “We can add global context to what might often be thought of as a local story.”
With his background in politics, there’s been some skepticism about his agenda at the paper, but he assured Warren that he checks his politics at the door, lets the editors determine the paper’s stories and just wants the best for the city. “My agenda is to see Los Angeles profit and prosper.”