Sam Zell is the charismatic CEO of the Tribune Company. Charismatic in a way only journalists would appreciate, which means he's always cursing about something. It's amazing how a quick "fuck you" has kept his staff charmed. But after yesterday's Newsday cuts, Sam Zell's "Fuck Yous" are more than straight talk—he's really going to fuck his employees.
Deposed Los Angeles Times editor James O'Shea describes as "voodoo economics" the idea that tightening of newsroom spending is necessary to the survival of newspapers. We don't want to be too pedantic here, but wasn't that expression used in an wholly different context? When coined by George Bush the Elder, in his campaign for the 1980 Republican nomination, voodoo economics was a description of Ronald Reagan's fiscal recklessness. Which is an accusation one can certainly not levy against the LA Times' owners, the penny-pinching Tribune Company.
The LA Times is letting editor James O'Shea go at the end this week. O'Shea was hired 14 months ago after the last guy couldn't figure out how to save the newspaper industry. Management was really, really hopeful that O'shea would be able to figure it out, but more than a year later - a whole year - the paper's still in the same god damn mess. Chaos at the highest levels is clearly a sound strategy for transforming an obsolete business model. Keep it up, LA Times. You'll be out of this in no time.
Los Angeles Times editor James O'Shea sent a strongly-worded memo to his staff an hour ago saying that while he did not want to "engage in mud-slinging" with Andres Martinez—the former editorial page editor who resigned today with guns blazing in the direction of the news desk—he was not going to "sit here like some silent lamb while he distorts my record and attacks this newspaper and my newsroom."