Frantz, Wolinsky Appointments Good At LAT, But Circulation Drive Requires Money
I am less enthusiastic at the naming by Baquet of John Montorio as associate editor. Montorio, as a deputy managing editor, has often adopted an unfair liberal-leftist agenda, which the Times doesn't need.
It is also somewhat peculiar that Wolinsky has been assigned the special portfolio of responsibility for attracting more readers and gaining circulation, since this is primarily the business of the publisher. It requires spending money on a circulation campaign, which the Times, under Tribune control, has been woefully short of doing. Circulation has dived 20% under Tribune control mainly because not enough effort has been made to keep it up, and what Wolinsky can do about this is limited. A secondary reason for the circulation decline has had to do with dropping outlying and national circulation intentionally, and a third, less important, has been the ideological positions of the paper, trouble with the Jewish community, etc. These, again, can best be corrected by the publisher and editor.
Forty years ago, when the Times had two managing editors, a day managing editor in Frank McCulloch and a night managing editor in Frank Haven, the two men, to put it mildly, did not get along and fairly soon Haven prevailed in the power struggle and McCulloch quit the paper.
As a correspondent based in Istanbul and assigned the critical story of nuclear proliferation, Frantz may well have been headed eventually for a Pulitzer prize. It is a selfless act on his part to come to the home office uneer these circumstances. I have no doubt he will do well. He is a long time friend of Baquet, and the editor will feel more comfortable with him immediately available in the home office and acting as a team member.
Key decisions that will affect the future of the newspaper will still eventually be made at the executive offices in Chicago, and there is little reason to feel confident about those.
But Baquet is organizing a good team, and this, perhaps, is a time to be hopeful.
The arrangement may work better than past management because Frantz is very able and Wolinsky will follow orders and work hard within his assignment.