Unofficial Lists Of The Tribune Co. Purge At The L.A. Times
Kevin Roderick's excellent L.A. Observed blog has an unofficial list of those leaving the L.A. Times in the latest purge by the disgraceful Tribune Co. owners, determined to subvert the quality of the newspaper and its own investment in it.
Also, Roderick quotes editor Dean Baquet as telling him that further cutting back the stock tables in the Business section is being considered. The Wall Street Journal recently reported both the L.A. Times and the lousier Chicago Tribune were thinking of such a step, edging toward elimination of the stock tables.
If he wants to go along with gutting the LAT in this way, Baquet should never have agreed to become editor of the paper. It would not be too late for him to protest such steps with a loud resignation.
Roderick, like all journalists, is, of course, capable of making mistakes, and not all the names on his unofficial elimination list might be correct. For instance, I was told Friday that state political columnist George Skelton would not be leaving. I hope that is true.
But others on the unofficial list by Roderick are a disheartening catalog of distinguished names: Eric Malnic, Shav Glick, Kevin Thomas, Drex Heikes, Elaine Dutka, Frank Sotomayor, Larry Stammer, Claudia Luther and Myrna Oliver, to name some.
All of them have made greater contributions to the L.A. Times over the years than any of the Easterners and Midwesterners brought out here by the Tribune Co.
Also, they include so many of the older, better-paid reporters that it raises serious questions of age discrimination. Maybe it is not too much to hope the Tribune Co., may be challenged in an employee discrimination lawsuit.
Roderick also reports that the Student Journalissm Program started by editor John Carroll is being terminated. This reminds one of Carroll's vain promise that he was going to improve the paper.
Roderick doesn't mention the invaluable Met Pro program as being eliminated. I hope it's not, because this has brought many great young people into journalism. But Sotomayor is director of that program, and, if he leaves, it might not bode well for it.
Sotomayor's son, as a U.S. Army company commander, fought for the nation in Iraq for more than a year. The terrorists didn't kill him. But now it sounds as if the Tribune Co. is doing in his father. For shame!
I wonder, meanwhile, if it is true, as Roderick says is rumored, that the new Chicago transplant, publisher Jeffrey Johnson, has killed an editorial on recent developments at General Motors. Did Andres Martinez, the inconsistent editorial page editor, actually propose a critical commentary on disgraceful moves by that company? Is Jeff Johnson even less courageous than Martinez? Of course, we all remember how General Motors suspended advertising in the Times because it didn't like criticism of the company in the Times.
Where is the new owner the L.A. Times needs so much?
And what are the sins of a newspaper whose profit approached $200 million last year, according to Michael Hiltzik's column last week in Business, and has won so many Pulitzers lately?