Editor Kevin Merida and Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong apparently disputed over an unpublished article about a California doctor one month before his resignation, per a report from the New York Times published Friday.
Soon-Shiong reportedly raised concerns with Merida in December, allegedly attempting to dissuade the editor’s pursuit of a story regarding a California doctor who was an acquaintance of Soon-Shiong.
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The NYT reporting, which cites three people close to the situation, comes less than a month after Merida announced his resignation from the Times, writing in a memo that he made the decision to leave “in consultation with Patrick, after considerable soul-searching about my career at this stage and how best to be of value to the profession I love.”
Merida came to the Times from ESPN in 2021. Soon-Shiong said at the time that Merida had “a clear understanding of the rigor necessary for independent journalism and how to translate that journalism to multiple platforms.”
In a separate email following Merida’s resignation, Soon-Shiong wrote that the news organization was “conducting an internal and external search for his successor.” Two weeks after Merida’s departure, the Times laid off about 115 journalists, amounting to 20 percent of their newsroom. “Today’s decision is painful for all, but it is imperative that we act urgently and take steps to build a sustainable and thriving paper for the next generation,” Soon-Shiong wrote on Jan. 23.
According to Soon-Shiong, he has invested almost $1 billion in the paper since acquiring it in 2018.
The Hollywood Reporter reached out to the Times for comment.
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