The Los Angeles Times is one of the oldest and largest daily newsgathering organizations in the United States.
Its operations include the Los Angeles Times, the nation's fourth-largest newspaper, which reaches an estimated 2.5 million readers each day; latimes.com, the fastest-growing newspaper website in the U.S.; which attracts more than 20 million unique visitors a month, and more than a dozen other specialty publications and websites.
The Times newsroom includes foreign and national bureaus, including Washington D.C., New York, San Francisco and Sacramento. The newsroom has won 41 Pulitzer Prizes, including five for public service.
The Times' primary printing plant near Olympic Boulevard in Los Angeles is one of the largest in the world at nearly 700,000-square-feet in size. Built at a cost of $230 million in 1990, each of the Olympic plant's six presses is capable of printing a 96-page newspaper at speeds of up to 70,000 newspapers per hour.
The Los Angeles Times was first published on Dec. 4, 1881, under the name the Los Angeles Daily Times. When the original founders ran into financial problems the following year, the fledgling paper was inherited by its printer, the Mirror Printing Office and Book Bindery. The company hired as editor a former military officer, Harrison Gray Otis, who quickly turned the paper into a financial success.
Otis and a partner purchased the Times and Mirror properties in 1884 and incorporated them as the Times-Mirror Co. Two years later, Otis purchased his partner's interest in the company. In October 1886, the word "Daily" was removed from the title and the newspaper became the Los Angeles Times.
As the city grew, so did The Times under publisher Harry Chandler, General Otis' son-in-law. Competition among local newspapers was fierce, however, and it was not until the mid-1940s that The Times became the leading newspaper in Los Angeles. Harry Chandler's son Norman took the reins in 1945 and expanded and diversified the media holdings of Times Mirror Co.
In 1960, Harry Chandler's grandson, Otis Chandler, became publisher and expanded the Los Angeles Times. "No publisher in America improved a paper so quickly on so grand a scale, took a paper that was marginal in qualities and brought it to excellence as Otis Chandler did," Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Halberstam wrote in his history of the company.
In June 2000, the Chicago-based Tribune Co. purchased Times Mirror, former parent of the Los Angeles Times. Tribune, in turn, was acquired in late 2007 by Chicago real estate billionaire Sam Zell and became a privately held company.
In December 2008, the company sought Bankruptcy Court protection after an $8.2 billion leveraged buyout by real estate magnate Sam Zell saddled the company with $12.9 billion in total debt just as advertising revenue was collapsing.
The bankruptcy became one of the longest in U.S. corporate history, in part because of fierce infighting among the investment firms that assumed ownership of Tribune after acquiring its debt. Four years later, the newspaper company emerged from bankruptcy.
In August 2014, the Tribune Co. spun off the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and eight other daily papers into a stand-alone company, Tribune Publishing Co.