Forty Years In, Downtown News Publisher Sue Laris Retraces Her Lucky Steps

Surviving as a free downtown print weekly since Richard Nixon was President is no mean feat. So kudos to Los Angeles Downtown News editor and publisher Sue Laris for making it to a 40th anniversary year.

For this week’s celebratory issue, Laris has updated her long and very amusing essay  “How To Start Your Own Newspaper,” originally written to mark her paper’s 30th anniversary.  The piece starts out as a checklist for prospective media barons and eventually detours to a golden anecdote:

The total we needed to start the company was $1,400, which was a lot of money to us at the time. I had no idea of the right way to get a business loan, so I walked into our bank, then a United California Branch in Inglewood, and asked for the loan officer.

“I want to borrow $1,400,” I told him.
“What do you need it for?” he asked.
“I want to start a newspaper.”

He tried very hard to keep a straight face as he heard the words, sort of sucking in his cheeks and taking deep, slow breaths through his nose…

It took a lot of ingenuity for Laris to wrangle her start-up loan after being turned away that day. To find out how she did it (and also how she was instrumental in the success of the Los Angeles Business Journal), click here.