Should We Worry As Billionaires Buy Up Newspapers?

40m · August 12, 2021

Should We Worry As Billionaires Buy Up Newspapers?

Patrick Soon-Shiong, the owner of the Los Angeles Times, says we should — and he’s one of those billionaires. In 2018, Soon-Shiong — who minted his fortune by inventing a cancer drug in the 1990s — scooped up the Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune and a group of smaller newspapers for a cool $500 million. Since then, he’s been obsessed with two things: modernizing his media empire and continuing his medical pursuits, most recently with an experimental Covid-19 vaccine. In this conversation, Soon-Shiong and Kara Swisher discuss why he bought the L.A. Times, his plans for it and why he didn’t do more to save other local papers from the jaws of a newsroom-slashing hedge fund. They also delve into his medical background, his take on how the Covid-19 pandemic will become endemic in unvaccinated communities and the job he says he passed up in the Trump administration. You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.

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