Q&A: JAMES O’SHEA, former editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Times, author – THE DEAL FROM HELLWritten on November 23rd, 2011
This week’s show is about a Los Angeles institution and source of local pride, nurtured to greatness as a family-owned business, purchased by someone from out-of-town who knew little about the business, put up little of his own money, and ran the property into the ground so that it is now a shell of its former self. And many customers have reacted by not buying the product.
No, we’re not talking about the Dodgers, but the Los Angeles Times.
After buying Times Mirror, The Tribune Company sent JAMES O’SHEA to LA to run the Times. Sam Zell bought the Tribune Company in a deal that even I – no financial expert – thought was both bad and doomed, and soon the Tribune Company was in bankruptcy where it remains.
O’Shea refused to do his bosses’ bidding in terms of cutbacks and he was let go. Over the next two years the Times cut nearly 40% of its journalists. JAMES O’SHEA has since founded a Chicago news cooperative of which he is editor, attempting a new model of journalism.
JAMES O’SHEA is editor and co-founder of the Chicago News Cooperative, former editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Times and past managing editor of the Chicago Tribune. Under his leadership, the Tribune’s news staff received six Pulitzer prizes. O’Shea is the author of THE DAISY CHAIN about the savings-and-loan crisis of the 1980s, DANGEROUS COMPANY, an examination of management consultants’ role in corporate decision making, and his latest THE DEAL FROM HELL: How Moguls and Wall Street Plundered Great American Newspapers.