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.”
But no, it goes further.
It is rare for an editor to go public with a position on internal budget battles and for the editor’s own newspaper to report on it. The decision by The Los Angeles Times to take its battle against Tribune public may signal that Mr. Baquet is trying to rally support on the paper’s behalf, at a time when Tribune is in turmoil and some local businessmen have expressed interest in buying the paper.
An editor at the paper said the article was prompted by a letter on Tuesday from 20 civic leaders, who called on Tribune to put more money into the paper or consider selling it. A Tribune spokesman said the company would respond to the letter in the near future.
Don't doubt one minute that this isn't being watched by every newspaper person, no matter how large or small their paper might be in the country. We realize what's going on.
But you can't do a good job if you don't have the talent to do it. This goes without saying.