Cheat-Seeking Missles

Thursday, September 21, 2006

LAT Woes

Yesterday LA Observed, reported:
NPR's David Folkenflik came up with a good piece this afternoon for "All Things Considered" that fleshed out some of the internal corporate struggle going on at the Los Angeles Times. He reported that editor Dean Baquet and publisher Jeff Johnson have been under Tribune pressure to raise profits at the paper 7% a year, and were hit with new demands recently from Chicago to before the end of this year and to slash $10 million from the budgetwhack the news staff to about 800 from 930. If true, that would help explain why Baquet and Johnson publicly resisted. (emphasis added)
Also, Fishbowl LA scooped the memo from publisher Jeff Johnson to the staff, which he hoped would "bolster your confidence in our resolve to work through these issues together." The memo does not address any of the highlighted items above. Instead, it reiterates the old/new LAT plan:
Earlier this year, we laid out our vision for growth. It is focused on Reconnecting with Southern California, Owning Entertainment and Winning in Local Online. We have a number of great initiatives underway, from the redesign of the core paper's news sections to the relaunch of The in print and online.
The admission that LAT has lost connection with the people it serves has not yet yielded any noticeable changes in the paper's editorial line, as witnessed by its recent complicity in the "Hottie" story (here and here). And thinking The Envelope, its Hollywood and Oscar blog, will yield 7% profit growth is putting a lot of faith in the power of the blogosphere.

Will LAT be sold? Johnson of course didn't address the issue, except to say:
Ultimately, both the Los Angeles Times and Tribune need to grow to be a healthy organization ...
... as opposed to "healthy organizations." But I wouldn't put much stock in the quote.

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