Santa Monica resident Todd James has purchased an ownership stake in the Santa Monica Daily Press (SMDP).
James becomes one of three owners of the company with founders Ross Furukawa and Dave Danforth. James purchased his share from founder Carolyn Sackariason who will no longer have a financial stake in the company.
Sackariason, Furukawa, and Danforth founded SMDP in 2001. Sackariason served as the first editor and retained an ownership stake when she moved back to Aspen in 2006 to further pursue local journalism. She worked for the NPR affiliate Aspen Public Radio and is currently a reporter for the Aspen Times. She said James has more time and resources to devote to the SMDP.
“The right buyer came along who can give more energy toward the paper than I can. This is a great time for the SMDP now that it has an associated nonprofit organization to bolster local news,” she said. “Todd seems to me to best suited to help fundraise and grow the newsroom so the paper can continue to keep its pulse on the community and its issues, and strengthen local democracy.”
James, a 20-year resident of Santa Monica, lives in the North of Montana neighborhood with his wife, Tatiana, and two sons. Following a career as a money manager for a large LA-based investment firm, James turned his interests to helping small companies get off the ground.
“I’m an angel investor involved with a number of young companies across a wide spectrum: oral care, news, music, coffee, health, and fitness, to name a few,” he said.
James said he plans to leverage skills to maintain the paper’s mission while enhancing its products.
“A trusted source of unbiased news is something we can no longer take for granted. Santa Monica is a small city with a big city budget and all the associated special interests. Our citizens deserve full-time, independent coverage of this special place and I want to help ensure we continue to get just that,” he said.
“There is so much going on in Santa Monica that it can be overwhelming to even the most engaged citizens. Our community needs the SMDP to be on the front lines reporting and analyzing the many issues and initiatives that will impact our quality of life for decades to come. Our focus should be on content, content and more content. Over the coming weeks and months, we hope our readers will see and appreciate many changes, both in print and online.”
Publisher Ross Furukawa said he is looking forward to working with James, and stressed the importance of local, community-involved ownership. “Todd brings a fresh set of eyes to the business and an entirely new perspective on what we can become in a rapidly evolving industry”, said Furukawa. “He understands the importance of local news, but also can help us ensure our business model and delivery methods ensure our long-term success.”
The paper announced plans to transition to a nonprofit model last year. Those efforts are ongoing but are now housed entirely inside the company. Damien Newton, founder of Streetsblog LA is no longer working with the company on its nonprofit fundraising efforts.