Chemerinsky no longer plans to invest in Los Angeles alternative weekly newspaper

Law Professors


Erwin Chemerinsky

Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of the law school at the University of California at Berkeley and an ABA Journal columnist, no longer plans to invest in a Los Angeles alternative weekly newspaper.

According to the OC Weekly, Chemerinsky confirmed Tuesday evening that he was no longer interested in joining the investors at Semanal Media Group, which bought the LA Weekly. (The LA Weekly and OC Weekly are former sister publications but no longer have the same owner.)

Chemerinsky had originally told the media that he was planning to invest because he is friends with Semanal’s Brian Calle, who is the LA Weekly’s new operations manager. Calle is a former opinion editor for the Orange County Register, and in that role had edited Chemerinsky’s columns. Chemerinsky told the OC Weekly that he considered Calle a friend and was planning a small investment on that basis.

But on Tuesday, the OC Weekly contacted Chemerinsky, sending him its article about how many Semanal investors have been Republican party donors. “With the firing (effectively busting the union representing LA Weekly’s staff) and the conservative faces behind Semanal now in the spotlight, Chemerinsky’s possible investment is being criticized for being at odds with his longtime left-wing views,” the OC Weekly wrote.

Chemerinsky told OC Weekly on Tuesday that he hadn’t known about this, and then two hours later told OC Weekly that he would not be investing in the LA Weekly.

The new owners of the LA Weekly kept their identities secret until after the sale, which the Society of Professional Journalists told the Los Angeles Times was “appalling and offensive.” The new owners also laid off nine of the LA Weekly’s 13 editorial staff members after taking control.

A Dec. 1 blog post by Calle in the LA Weekly says Semanal wants “to once again see an incredibly relevant, thriving LA Weekly.”

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