Community Papers May Face Consolidation by Times

by Claudia Peschiutta

The Los Angeles Times may soon consolidate two of its few remaining community newspapers.

Tom Johnson, general manager of Times Community News, said last week he was considering folding the twice-weekly Foothill Leader into the Glendale News-Press, a daily paper. "We're strongly looking at it," he said. "To me, it makes all the sense in the world to do it."

If the move is approved, the Leader which covers La Canada Flintridge, Sunland and Tujunga would cease publication. The News-Press would add La Canada Flintridge to its coverage area and change its name to "The News-Press."

Johnson plans to meet with Times officials on Jan. 18 to discuss the proposal, which would require changing newspaper racks and adjusting subscriptions and distribution.

Merging the two papers would not result in any layoffs, Johnson said, because it would require "more of a commitment" to make some of the Leader's operations daily ones. The cost of the project was unknown, he said.

Hurt by falling advertising revenues, the Times has been moving out of the community news market. The paper made cuts within affiliate Times Community News last year and shut down its Our Times section, which produced 14 local news sections in 2000. Times' owner Tribune Co. last year announced plans to reduce its 26,000-member workforce by 6 percent.

NPR's West Coast Moves

National Public Radio officials said last week they were close to inking a deal for a West Coast production facility in Culver City.

"It's a priority for NPR to have a presence on the West Coast," said Jenny Lawhorn, a network spokeswoman. "It's going to happen in 2002."

People inside and outside of NPR have been trying to put a facility on this side of the country in the hopes of broadening the network's coverage beyond the East Coast. NPR officials said last year they were close to finding a location but a spokeswoman later said "market changes" led to a new search. The network currently has a small news bureau in L.A.

NPR has set aside $12 million for the production facility, which will employ between 70 and 100 people, Lawhorn said. The James Irvine Foundation is helping fund the expansion.

One of the programs set to originate from the proposed facility actually went on the air last week. "The Tavis Smiley Show," produced in L.A., is the first NPR program to come out of the West Coast. Writer and commentator Tavis Smiley featured Harvard University professor Cornel West, author of "Race Matters," on his first show.

Kantor Joins PR Firm Board

Public relations firm Fleishman-Hillard added yet another Beltway graduate to its international advisory board.

Former U.S. Commerce Secretary and Trade Representative Mickey Kantor joined the likes of Leon Panetta, chief of staff under President Bill Clinton, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on the firm's panel. The advisors provide guidance and support to clients and account teams.

"Mickey Kantor is an enormous addition to the international advisory board. He's well-known in Washington and he's incredibly well-known in California and Los Angeles," said Doug Dowie, general manager of Fleishman-Hillard's local office.

Kantor, a lawyer, made news as a member of Clinton's cabinet and an advisor to the former president during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Adlink Technology Goes Bi-Coastal

L.A.-based Adlink Cable Advertising LLC has signed a licensing agreement with New York Interconnect to provide its targeted commercial delivery systems to advertisers in the New York area.

Adlink sells media time and distributes advertising across cable systems in L.A. using two proprietary products, Adtag and Adcopy. Adtag allows advertisers to customize ads for different areas of the market, while Adcopy allows them to simultaneously run unique commercials in specified subsections of the market.

The current downturn in advertising spending can actually benefit Adlink, according to company spokeswoman Vicki Lins.

"Advertisers are looking for ways to make their advertising more effective," she said.

Staff reporter Claudia Peschiutta can be reached at (323) 549-5225 ext. 229 or at

Port Wraps Up Forbes

The Port of Los Angeles is getting some unusual exposure while helping Forbes magazine out of the advertising downturn.

The port has bought subscriptions for six issues a year sent to 800 business and political leaders. The issues include a mock Forbes cover advertising the port that is put over the regular magazine cover.

"We don't have a widget to sell. This is image advertising," said Julia Nagano, the port's director of public affairs.

The port spends $60,000 of its $250,000 annual ad budget on the program.

Port officials purchase the subscriptions and "pay a premium" to do the cover-wraps, which are also done for other clients, said Liberta Abbondante, vice president of circulation at Forbes.

"It's not something that's new to Forbes," she said. Abbondante declined to comment on how many clients have similar agreements with the magazine.

The latest campaign is under the direction of Praxis Design and Advertising.

Nagano said surveys have shown the campaign is effective. One magazine recipient said a subscription was "well worth 20 paperweights and six pens."

Claudia Peschiutta

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