If it’s not, the people who run The Tribune Company have lost control of it, and THEY need to go.
Dean P. Baquet and Jeffrey M. Johnson have drawn the line in the sand, and have clearly been in open defiance for several months:
The editor of The Los Angeles Times appears to be in a showdown with the paper’s owner, the Tribune Company, over job cuts in the newsroom.
In a highly unusual move, Dean P. Baquet, who was named editor last year, was quoted yesterday in his own newspaper as saying he was defying the paper’s corporate parent in Chicago and would not make the cuts it requested.
The paper’s publisher, Jeffrey M. Johnson, said he agreed with Mr. Baquet. “Newspapers can’t cut their way into the future,” he told the paper.
The number of jobs at stake is unclear but the paper, the fourth largest in the country, has eliminated more than 200 positions over the last five years from an editorial staff that now numbers about 940.
“I am not averse to making cuts.” Mr. Baquet told the paper. “But you can go too far, and I don’t plan to do that.”
The paper reported that Scott C. Smith, president of the Tribune Publishing division, had asked the paper’s executives to come up with a plan for trimming their budgets, but when Mr. Smith visited Los Angeles late last month, they had produced no such plan.
By producing no plan when asked, Baquet gives lie to the “not averse to making cuts” statement. He had his chance to come up with something, and didn’t.
He should have resigned by now if he really thought the company was going too far, as should have Mr. Johnson. But they are acting as if their newspaper is some kind of indispensable public utility. The public, which is abandoning them by cancelling subscriptions at a net rate of 5% or more every six months, clearly doesn’t agree.
If Tribune Company Publishing Division President Scott C. Smith backs down, he should kiss HIS job good-bye.