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In L.A., a new tabloid from its ex-mayor

Richard Riordan's L.A. Examiner will have local focus, 'unbiased' news, and even pieces by Billy Crystal.

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Presses hum while men in blue jumpsuits scurry to and fro, jabbing computer buttons to adjust color and contrast at the Los Angeles Examiner, a new weekly tabloid.

The prototype newspaper copies are the brainchild of former Republican Mayor Richard Riordan, who wants to add color and contrast to the nation's second-largest media market, which has close to 70 radio stations but only one major newspaper, the Los Angeles Times.

"What I'd like to do is get a paper that is L.A.-centered, unlike the Los Angeles Times, which has been drifting more and more away from what the city is about," says Mr. Riordan, the two-term mayor and millionaire businessman who is reportedly financing much of the paper's $5 million start-up costs. "Second, I'd like to have a paper that is prohonesty, which doesn't let reporters espouse their [own] ideology unless they can prove what they are saying is right."

Besides Riordan's longtime and well-known beefs with the Times - he claims 98 percent of writers are liberal Democrats - he says the city he loves is hungry for a publication that reflects its uniqueness within the American landscape - from the entertainment world of Hollywood, to the affluent Bel Air/Beverly Hills, to the immigrant neighborhoods of Koreatown and South Central.

Although some newspaper industry analysts have said the venture will be expensive and take a long time to establish, the idea received a much needed boost with the recent closing of another alternative weekly, "New Times Los Angeles."

Holding a copy of their 52-page prototype - which editors hope to circulate to prospective advertisers and investors for a June 5 launch - managing editor Ken Layne explains further: "I read the Los Angeles Times and think, this is a bunch of East Coasters who are trying to imitate The New York Times," he says.

The family-owned Los Angeles Times was purchased in March 2000, by the Chicago Tribune Co., ending 100 years of local ownership.

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