When Tribune split into two companies, Tribune Media — which took the TV and digital assets — also shamelessly grabbed the real estate where Tribune Publishing's newspapers had lived for decades. It forced papers like the Chicago Tribune and our Los Angeles Times to suddenly pay rent on their own buildings! Now that the L.A. Times is out of the Tronc (er, I guess it's Tribune Publishing again) orbit, new owner Patrick Soon-Shiong is moving the newspaper to a building in El Segundo. He's promising updated facilities — and considering the sorry shape of the LA Times building, which hasn't been kept up by its Tribune Media landlords — that could be a good thing. Not so much for some of the staff, which will now have to alter their commutes. (Some will remain in downtown, in a new space above The Last Bookstore).
As a Los Angeles booster, I had somehow never taken a Los Angeles Times tour. Shame on me. I had, well, decades where I could have. So when I discovered that the final tour was this past Friday — and that it was all booked up — I put a plea out to my pals at the paper: Let me visit!
Thankfully, Kate Stanhope and Yvonne Villarreal came through, and offered to invite me over for a peek inside the LA Times building, one last time. Thanks to them — and here's a look at the final days of the Los Angeles Times on Spring Street.
In the Spring Street lobby (where most employees and people enter).
The Los Angeles Times hallways are filled with history: Key front pages, Pulitzer Awards, tributes to legendary employees like Jim Murray, and much more.
In the Globe lobby — the iconic space most people think of, when they think about the LA Times building — a museum's worth of historic artifacts, including this typesetting machine. Most of this will be moving to the El Segundo building, where Soon-Shiong plans a new museum.
The famed Globe lobby.
The Los Angeles Times has won 44 Pulitzer Prizes since 1942.
Gen Harrison Gray Otis.
More from the Globe lobby.
Hidden inside the old phone booth: A relic of an old pay phone!
Also in the lobby: This eagle was saved from the old Los Angeles Times building that was famously bombed in 1910.
The old publisher's office.
The famed Los Angeles Times test kitchen.
Now mostly packed up and ready for the move.
Where LA Times staffers would often do live news shots.
A view of the Calendar section newsroom.
More old memorabilia — classic cameras.
Signs from the recent fight to form a union are still everywhere.
PTSD -- Post-Tronc Stress Disorder.
The Tronc banner of shame, featuring Sam Zell and Lee Abrams as well.
Not a lot of fans of Tronc's money-grabbing exiting chairman Michael Ferro.