Not exactly a surprise, especially to my readers. So now let’s see who has the guts to quit in solidarity (LA Times Editors Loyal To Baquet Said To Have A ‘Suicide Pact’), eh? UPDATE: * Well, Doug Frantz and Leo Wolinsky say they’re staying, but no one’s heard yet from Baquet pal John Montorio…* Well, with Baquet’s ouster, that’s one less thing David Geffen has to do when he buys the Los Angeles Times. The announcement was going to be made tomorrow, since it doesn’t make sense to disrupt the newsroom in the middle of the midterm elections. But it leaked.
The new editor of the LA Times is journeyman editor and reporter James O’Shea, managing editor of the Chicago Tribune since 2001, who worked closely with the current LAT publisher James Hiller at the Tribune when Hiller was that paper’s publisher. When O’Shea was upped from deputy managing editor for news in 2001, his Chicago Tribune boss, Ann Marie Lipinski, senior vice president and editor of the newspaper, called him “an exquisite journalist and an editor of near-impeccable judgement. He is a connoisseur of the toughest reporting and the finest writing, a journalist who can produce both and knows how to encourage it in others.” Before that, O’Shea, 62, had been deputy managing editor for news since October 1995. He previously served as the Tribune’s associate managing editor for foreign and national news. A veteran of the Chicago Tribune‘s news staff, O’Shea covered local, business, national and foreign news for the newspaper in a variety of assignments. He joined the Tribune in 1979 after working as a reporter, editor and correspondent for the Des Moines Register. He has won numerous journalism awards and is the author of two books: The Daisy Chain, about the savings and loan crisis and Dangerous Company, an investigative profile of management consultants and the role they play in corporate decision-making. He holds an undergraduate degree in English and philosophy from the University of Missouri and a master’s degree in journalism. Hiller’s new memo says about O’Shea: “He is a journalist’s journalist, coming up mostly on the foreign and national news side. He is a tough minded but fair, independent thinker, of rock hard news values and integrity, professional and personal. He also understands the imperatives of sustaining readership, and of innovating and changing things to build readership. He has worked a lot over the years with Dean, Doug Frantz, and many others of you who can speak to your experiences with Jim. Jim has managed a large news operation, and has been an architect with Dean of our new model of foreign and national coverage, including the bureau. This will be helpful as we find additional ways to collaborate with other Tribune newspapers. Jim has also been leading the efforts in to re-invent how the newsroom operates in the new 24/7 multi-channel environment, and he will not miss a beat in jumping into the work actively going on here. I could go on and on, but instead Jim’s bio is attached. I will say, finally, that Jim is a personable, considerate and good-humored colleague (in that sometimes gruff but charming Irish sort of way), traits you are accustomed to and that will serve us all well on the road ahead. Please get to know Jim and help us all succeed together.”
Hiller (left) also talks about Baquet and the paper: “When I came here four weeks ago, Dean Baquet and I agreed that we would work to get to know each other, for me to get to know the newspaper, and we would decide if we were on the same page in terms of the strategic and operating direction of the paper. After considerable discussion, we concluded that we have significant differences on future direction, and so Dean will be leaving. I do not want to dwell on my differences with Dean. In my note earlier this week I set out, in a positive but realistic way, how I see our challenges and opportunities, and what we need to do to continue our role as the leading and most trusted source for news and information in and Southern California. The headlines were innovation and change in the newspaper to turn around current readership and circulation trends; allocating more resources to accelerate our growth on the web; more media products to build our reach with certain segments of the market; sharpening our strategies to serve the Hispanic community; and managing our resources and expenses in light of current business realities. Part of that last point relates to levels of staffing and other resources, and how we allocate and re-allocate resources as our business changes. As I write this, I still do not have a definite view of staffing levels across the company, including in the newsroom. We are working through these issues in connection with the 2007 operating plan. I think it is very important, as I said in my note earlier, that all of these resource and staffing issues be decided within a framework of where we are leading the business for the long term. It is also important that all of us be aligned on how we will approach these needed changes, and that we lead these changes positively and with confidence. I appreciate that not everybody will agree and choose to join in this direction, and that’s OK. Smart and reasonable people can differ significantly. Everybody gets to choose whether this is a direction they can support, and do so with excellence and passion. But decide we all must, because the last thing we can stand is confusion on our mission and objectives. It’s going to be hard enough as it is.”
Previous: David Geffen, Chicago Is Calling On Line 1, LA Times: Sleepovers at David Geffen’s, Finke/LA Weekly: Dean of Sycophants (And The Paper Drops A Bomb), LA TIMES CHAOS: Current Publisher Fired; Tribune Toadie Hired; Baquet Shows Himself To Be Gutless Wonder, Finke/LA Weekly: Baquet’s Billionaire Boys Club; Geffen ‘Confident’ LAT Buy, EXCLUSIVE: Top LA Times Editors Loyal To Baquet Said To Have A ‘Suicide Pact’, The Michael Kinsley Experiment Ends, Baquet Begins