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.
ROBERT SCHEER, editor-in-chief of Truthdig, was Vietnam correspondent and an editor of Ramparts magazine from 1964-69. He worked with the Los Angeles Times for nearly 30 years, as a national correspondent from 1976-1993 and as a weekly syndicated columnist until 2005. In 2005 he co-founded Truthdig. Scheer is heard weekly on Left, Right and Center on NPR's KCRW. A clinical professor of communications at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, he is a contributing editor for The Nation as well as a Nation Fellow. Scheer has written nine books, including With Enough Shovels: Reagan, Bush and Nuclear War; The Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us about Iraq; The Pornography of Power and his newest, THE GREAT AMERICAN STICKUP.