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Analyzing LA Times’ future after parent company fires publisher Austin Beutner

The Los Angeles Times building
The Los Angeles Times building
David McNew/Getty Images

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A little more than a year after being named publisher of the L.A. Times, Austin Beutner has been fired by the paper’s parent company Tribune Publishing Co. The Baltimore Sun’s publisher, Tim Ryan, will reportedly take over as publisher.

This is more than a media business story. It's at the heart of how a daily newspaper can reinvent itself while still satisfying a larger corporation's expectations. Beutner had a vision. Now it'll be someone else's.

What does this mean for the future of the L.A. Times as a newspaper? Who is Tim Ryan, and what is his reputation? Why did Tribune decide to fire Beutner? Can a newspaper like the L.A. times really serve as a public service institution like Beutner envisioned or does its for-profit model prevent that?

The following is excerpted from a longer blog post published to Austin Beutner's Facebook account today:

I am writing to let you know that I am leaving the Los Angeles Times, effective immediately.  I am not departing by choice, nor is this some “mutual agreement” on my part and Tribune Publishing.  Tribune Publishing has decided to fire me.  I am sorry you will read this on social media, but I no longer have access to my Times email.

For more of KPCC’s coverage of this story, click HERE. For everything we know on Tim Ryan, click HERE. You can also read the L.A. Times article HERE.

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David Folkenflik, NPR media correspondent