What does seem clear is that in an age of instant digital communication, when readers in Los Angeles are likely to get their first dose of news from The New York Times or Wall Street Journal or BuzzFeed or Ozy, none of which is based here, the idea that one organization could dominate news coverage is a relic of the past.

Sure, you can’t get coverage of what happens in our City Hall from those faraway places, but it’s not as if the competition was so fierce in that space in recent years anyway. The Times clearly dominates coverage in Los Angeles. Digital First’s Los Angeles Daily News acts as a strong watchdog on local government, but beyond City Hall it focuses on the San Fernando Valley – a market the Times has largely ceded – and lays no claim to covering news on the other side of the hill.

That leaves the Times to set the agenda.

Not much could be expected to change by extending Tribune’s reach into Orange County, where the Register already is the dominant voice. Would it really matter whether corporate Tribune or Digital First were calling the shots? Given their recent histories, neither was likely to be received warmly in the newsroom, and it’s a safe bet loyal readers would notice thinner papers before they took note of any unified editorial tone – should that even arrive.

The world, as Tom Freidman observed, has indeed flattened. Information knows no borders and even as newspaper ownership consolidates there are more places to get news – some of it even based on original reporting.

Deciding who gets to take a stab at resuscitating another failing newspaper should have been made on the merits of the revival plan, not the cash offered or the location of acquirer.

Jonathan Diamond is editor of the Business Journal. He can be reached at jdiamond@ labusinessjournal.com.


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