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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Superman I'm not, says former L.A. publisher

A day after his forced resignation as publisher of the Los Angeles Times and the end of his 22-year career with parent Tribune Co., Jeff Johnson insisted the tights and cape didn't fit, no matter what you might have read.

Never mind that The New York Times reported his public defiance of his corporate masters in Chicago transformed him "as dramatically as Clark Kent does when he ... turns into Superman" in the eyes of his staff.

Forget that The Washington Post called him "a folk hero in media circles" for his refusal to sign off on the latest Tribune-mandated budget cuts.

"I've joked it's like being the general who's a pacifist," Johnson, 47, said Friday. "That's not really me. I'm all about being more efficient. I'll put my track record up against anyone on that one. But, hey, I believe I also know how to do it in a constructive way. So I'm a little uncomfortable [with that image], but I certainly believe the issue is an important one."

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