In 1972, Sue Laris founded what is now Los Angeles Downtown News after planning it on her kitchen table. Today, her independently owned multi-media company, with an avid readership of about 150,000 weekly, has soared from the original Civic Center News to a paper whose success is inseparable from the transformation of Downtown. Her firm also publishes three magazines and online content weekdays at http://downtownnews.com.
Originally targeted at readers in the Los Angeles Civic Center, where City Hall, the Hall of Administration, Superior Court and other buildings house the largest concentration of government workers outside of Washington, D.C., her eight-page newsletter appeared twice monthly in a downtown that went dark at night. When development to create a “24-hour downtown” began to take hold, attracting business and residents, Sue renamed her by-now weekly paper as the first Downtown News in the nation.
It is hard to overstate Sue’s foresight and pioneering guts long before DTLA was chic, and her key role in joining or leading many volunteer organizations as she grew her newspaper. And as downtowns in places like Seattle and San Diego began to revive, residents there founded newspapers – and Sue Laris in L.A. was often the woman from whom they sought advice.
Today the paper is a must-read for downtowners. Each of its “Downtown Development” quarterly section tracks more than 100 active projects, its yearly “Downtown Landmarks” section heralds forgotten gems, and its weekly “Calendar and Listings” offer more than 100 events.
But beyond all this, Downtown News and its roughly 20 staff members are a voice that defines L.A.s core and its 15 distinct neighborhoods. The paper has won awards from the California Newspaper Publishers Association and Los Angeles Press Club in categories such as Investigative Reporting, Best Writing, Best Business Story, Best Design and Best Cartoon.
Warm congratulations from the Los Angeles Press Club Board of Directors to Downtown News founder Sue Laris, 2013 recipient of the Los Angeles Press Club Public Service Award in Journalism.