Former OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Reflects on Media Landscape
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FEATURING GUSTAVO ARELLANO – The nation’s media landscape has dramatically changed in the last few weeks. It started with news of the online sites Gothamist and DNAInfo being shut down by their billionaire owner Joe Ricketts after workers there unionized. The shuttered sites included local Southern California news site LAist.
Then we heard the bombshell news of long-time OC Weekly writer-turned editor-in-chief Gustavo Arellano resigning from his position after refusing to lay off a chunk of his staff. The LA Weekly was then taken over by mysterious new owners that also laid off a number of staff. To top it all off news reports have emerged of a Koch brothers company buying a stake in Time magazine.
All of this has happened while the Federal Communications Commission removed its ban on media cross-ownership opening the door to more consolidation. And, of course we are seeing the likely demise of Net Neutrality which benefits independent online media.
Is our media landscape being completely taken over by the billionaires of the nation, leaving behind good journalists to wonder where their talents will be used?
Gustavo Arellano, former Editor-in-Chief of the OC Weekly, an Orange County based weekly newspaper where he started out as a food critic and the writer of a satirical advice column called Ask a Mexican. He eventually turned the column into an acclaimed book by the same name. His other books include Orange County: A Personal History, and Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America. He recently resigned from the OC Weekly after its new owners asked him to fire a number of staff writers.