According to a recent article in DNYUZ, prominent newspapers and media organizations such as the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and Time magazine have been consistently experiencing significant financial losses since their acquisition by billionaires.
Despite the initial optimism of these wealthy owners to revive their financial prospects, these outlets have maintained a clear editorial bias against Trump and the GOP. Unfortunately, there seems to be no indication of any improvement in their financial situation in the foreseeable future.
“As the prospects for news publishers waned in the last decade, billionaires swooped in to buy some of the country’s most fabled brands. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, bought The Washington Post in 2013 for about $250 million,” DNYUZ reported. “Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, a biotechnology and start-up billionaire, purchased The Los Angeles Times in 2018 for $500 million. Marc Benioff, the founder of the software giant Salesforce, purchased Time magazine with his wife, Lynne, for $190 million in 2018.”
The report stated that the newsrooms greeted their new owners with cautious optimism on every occasion, anticipating that their business acumen and technological know-how would offer solutions to the complex task of generating income as a digital publication.
Nevertheless, it seems that the billionaires are encountering challenges that are comparable to those faced by nearly everyone else. As per sources familiar with the financial state of these companies, Time, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times all experienced substantial losses in the previous year, despite considerable investments from their owners and dedicated endeavors to establish fresh revenue streams.
“Wealth doesn’t insulate an owner from the serious challenges plaguing many media companies, and it turns out being a billionaire isn’t a predictor for solving those problems,” Ann Marie Lipinski, the curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, told DNYUZ. “We’ve seen a lot of naïve hope attached to these owners, often from employees.”
The Los Angeles Times is anticipated to face the most immediate repercussions due to the losses, leading journalists to brace themselves for potentially unfavorable outcomes. The resignation of Kevin Merida, a widely respected editor at the newspaper, has recently been announced. This decision is said to have arisen from disagreements with Soon-Shiong concerning editorial and business priorities, as disclosed by two individuals familiar with the matter, according to the outlet.
“In the middle of last year, The Times was on track to lose $30 million to $40 million in 2023, according to three people with knowledge of the projections. Last year, the company cut about 74 jobs, and executives have met in recent days to discuss the possibility of deep job cuts, according to two other people familiar with the conversations. Members of The Los Angeles Times union have called an emergency meeting for Thursday to discuss the possibility of another “major” round of layoffs: “This is the big one,” read the email to employees.”
Bezos has faced challenges at The Washington Post as well. Like many other news organizations, The Post has struggled to maintain the momentum it gained after the 2020 election. Decreasing subscriptions and advertising revenue led to losses of around $100 million in the previous year. By the end of the year, the company had reduced its workforce by 240 positions out of 2,500 through buyouts, including some of its highly respected journalists.
Meanwhile, most of these print outlets continue to exhibit a clear bias against Trump and conservatism in their reporting and editorial stance. The same trend can be observed in cable news as well. According to the Pew Research Center, revenue “decreased for CNN and MSNBC and increased for Fox News in 2022.”
The center added, “CNN’s total revenue decreased by 5%, from $1.9 billion in 2021 to $1.8 billion in 2022. Similarly, MSNBC’s revenue fell from $977 million to $903 million, an 8% decrease. Fox News saw a 5% increase, from $3.1 billion in 2021 to $3.3 billion in 2022.”