Touring the Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times Building is an iconic structure in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. Built in 1935 in the Art Deco style it’s one of the area’s most beautiful structures. It’s also a building in transition. As the newspaper industry continues to struggle it was recently sold to the development company Omini Group for a cool $120 million. At this point the structure itself is safe but the residency of its oldest tenant is uncertain. So when I had the opportunity to tour the Times offices one recent evening I jumped at a chance to glimpse inside its storied walls.
On the second Thursday of every other month the Times offers free public tours of the building (alternating months with tours of the printing plant). They’re led by LA Times veteran Darrell Kunitomi who’s as personable as he is knowledgeable about the paper’s history. On a recent Thursday night he met us in the Spring Street lobby of the building and gave us an intro to the newspaper’s legacy (complete with giveaways!).
Soon we were on our way and began to wander through the the building’s hallowed halls. Along the way were noted front pages from the paper’s history and I couldn’t help but get choked up as I saw the headlines for Armistice Day, Pearl Harbor, September 11th and more. We even saw the very first front page which interestingly was half filled with advertisements.
We made our way to The Globe Lobby which I had been lucky enough to visit in the past. It seriously is one of the most beautiful places in all of Los Angeles.
The lobby is surrounded by fantastic murals by noted artist Hugo Ballin and on the floor are beautiful bronze reliefs.
There’s also an area documenting the first 100 years of the Times which parallels the history of Los Angeles itself. I was especially partial to this map of the city from 1881 which included the name and address of every resident. What a testament to how rapidly the city grew into the metropolis it is today.
We soon headed upstairs to the newsroom and I couldn’t help but be impressed by the elevator’s Deco style.
That eagle resided on the original times building (there were two prior to the current structure).
Upstairs we toured the various newsrooms for each department of the paper (photos were not allowed). It was late in the evening but there were still reporters working on their pieces. I was struck by how quiet it was. Gone are the days of Hildy Johnson and the hopping news room.
Our final stop was the LA Times Test Kitchen.
It’s the only test kitchen in a regional newspaper and is responsible for all the recipes you find in the food section.
Touring the LA Times was a true delight. Not only is the building beautifully restored but it was fascinating to see the inner workings of the newspaper. No matter what the future brings I hope it never dies.