Thursday, November 30, 2006
The end of November is upon us, and with that, comes the dreaded month of December for Los Angeles Times employees. Just like clockwork, employees are let go in the last month of the year at the newspaper, and this year will remain the same if history repeats itself.
Just yesterday I heard from the square that our computer help desk employees will be outsourced to the Philippines, with five to ten employees being let go. The Information Technology employees are taking each week as they come, not knowing how much longer they will remain with the company, before their jobs are outsourced.
With all the outsourcing we have witnessed at the Los Angeles Times it causes me to reminisce about Rod Serling and his black and white television program called The Twilight Zone. In the episode titled “The Brain Center at Whipples”, which was released on May 15th, 1964, Mr. Whipple attempt’s to be more efficient in his factory, and replaces all of his employees with machines. He himself is let go when a robot replaces him.
Machines are replacing American workers at an alarming rate, but countries like India and the Philippines, instead of machines, are taking jobs away at a much faster pace than anything else.
The outlook for future generations of Americans is not a bright one.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
(Managers and supervisors: Please share this information with your employees who do not have e-mail. Thank you.)
Employees should not have personal mail sent to the work site.
Employees should not have packages (including Federal Express, DHL, UPS, Airborne, etc.) sent to the work site.
Any and all incoming mail will be initially screened in the mailroom.
Any and all packages will continue to be processed through Shipping & Receiving where they are x-rayed and inspected for suspicious content but not opened.
For these reasons, you should have all personal mail, packages, and etc. delivered by the U.S. Postal Services or other services delivered directly to your home address.
We thank you for your understanding of and adherence to this policy.
Last Update: 8:43 AM ET Nov 29, 2006
CHICAGO (MarketWatch) -- A "strategic review" at Tribune Co. has "generated strong interest from a number of parties," the media company's chief executive said.
After the close of regular trading on Tuesday, Dennis FitzSimons said in brief statement that "advisers to both the company and the independent special committee of the board have recommended that the review process be extended to ensure thorough consideration of all proposals."
Potential buyers have been circling around the company, looking for pieces to bite off as Tribune (TRB) has been stung by advertising and circulation declines at its newspapers and turmoil at one of its best-known properties, the Los Angeles Times.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
TRIBUNE UPDATES STRATEGIC REVIEW PROCESS
CHICAGO, Nov. 28, 2006—Tribune Company (NYSE: TRB) today announced an update to its strategic review process.
“This process has generated strong interest from a number of parties,” said Dennis FitzSimons, Tribune chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Advisors to both the company and the independent special committee of the board have recommended that the review process be extended to ensure thorough consideration of all proposals.”
Tribune staff reporter
Published November 28, 2006, 5:14 PM CST
Judging that it would be unable to complete a deal to sell the company by the end of the year, Tribune Co. announced today that it planned to extend into the first quarter a process to review options to boost the company's stock price.
As a result, said Tribune Chairman and Chief Executive Dennis FitzSimons said in a statement, "Advisors to both the company and the independent special committee of the board have recommended that the review process be extended to ensure thorough consideration of all proposals."
Separately, the company said it had received federal approval to sell television stations in Boston and Albany, N.Y., bringing to $450 million the amount raised from assets sales since the company said earlier this year it would unload $500 million of "non-core" assets.
Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2006 2:55 PM
Dear Fellow Employee:
Today we issued the attached news release updating our strategic review process.
Given the many strong expressions of interest and the commitment of our independent directors to a thorough review process, it is now anticipated that a final recommendation on strategic alternatives will be made to Tribune's full board during the first quarter.
This is an important time for our company and your continued focus on our readers, viewers, listeners and advertisers is appreciated.
Editors Note: The attachment from Mr. FitzSimons will be added as soon as possible.
The Video blogger I mentioned yesterday is still going through the channels at the square, before being allowed to film at the Olympic Production Facility for publication on Native Intelligence.
The IT (Information Technology) Department suffered no layoffs last week, instead of having many IT Departments; they have been consolidated into one department.
I will be attending the Times 125th Anniversary Party on December 4th with camera in hand, all Times, TCN, CCN, and Recycler employees are invited.
Rumors of the sale of the Los Angeles Times are premature; nothing regarding a sale has been leaked to the media or bloggers yet. One fellow employee told me “I heard on the news the newspaper has been sold”, so I requested a little information, like where did he hear this news? He could not recall, so I figure this was an attempt to start a rumor and nothing more.
Ted Venetoulis, a businessman and former local politician, is leading a consortium of prominent Baltimoreans who want to buy the Sun, if Tribune decides to break up the company and sell it piece by piece.
Training tomorrow's reporters isn't easy in L.A.
As I read Mariel Garza's column last week (11/12/2006) in the Daily News of Los Angeles it echoed some of my own experiences in trying to connect my journalism students with the Los Angeles Police Department. Like Garza, I teach a journalism course at California State University Northridge, and wanted the students in my class to view a daily crime log as one of their 10 out-of-class reporting assignments for the semester.
Photo-Op of newsracks.
Extended Warranty "Useless" -- Consumer Reports
You are buying a brand-new product. But the salesperson is telling you it could break down. And unless you pay for the warranty, you'll have expensive repairs. Well, is that true? Is an extended warranty worth the money?
Near-Riot @ Topanga Sony Style Store For PS3 Launch...
In January, when I observed that the search for an Xbox 360 was going to be "...a mere dress rehersal for the Playstation 3's release later this year," I didn't anticipate that last weekend would involve violence.
LA cops file suit over ticket quotas
A group of Los Angeles police officers in the north San Fernando Valley has filed a class- action grievance alleging that they have been improperly pressured by the command staff to meet quotas in writing traffic tickets.
Advertisers to push Times on rates
Whenever there's blood in the water, you can be certain that advertisers will be looking for a discount off the rate card. The Business Journal reports that Macy's and several unnamed local auto dealers say they will be expecting better deals next year, based on the paper's circulation drop (15 percent since the last ad rates were set).
Monday, November 27, 2006
Below the Fold
Newspapers in Los Angeles, like newspapers in most other large U.S. cities, once measured themselves against their competition. Getting a “scoop” was the journalistic equivalent of a knockout in boxing. And news – at least within the newsroom – was sport as much as anything else. Being first mattered as much as being right, and if you couldn’t be sure of the latter then the former would almost always suffice.
Newspapers were at war with each other. They fought with massive presses and ink barrels. They enlisted young recruits hungry for battle and invested time and resources to get to the top and then stay there.
Today, for the most part, the competition wars are over. Cities like Los Angeles are now one-newspaper towns. Today newspapers fight not for supremacy, but for survival. They are still at war – but this time, the fighting is internal.
Subject: staff message from Randy Harvey
We received word this morning that Tim Brown is leaving the paper for Yahoo Sports.
While this is good news for our friend Dave Morgan, it is very bad news for us. Tim is a born baseball writer, one of the very best in the business, but the fact is that there isn't a writing job in our section that Tim couldn't do with equal style.
He certainly proved that with his exceptional coverage of the Shaq and Kobe Lakers. That was a high point for our department.
We will miss him personally and professionally. We wish him well.
As you all know by now, the Union has filed its seventh petition seeking to represent pressroom employees. We believe that it filed the petition now in the hopes that the Company would find it hard to campaign at this time of year and that you would be distracted by the holidays and other year-end activities.
If that was the Union’s strategy it miscalculated. We intend to continue to provide you with the FACTS and are confident that each of you understands that this election is something of vital importance to you and your families.
We know that the Union doesn’t want you listening to the Company and that it tells you the Company is not stating the true facts. But look at what has happened during EVERY PREVIOUS CAMPAIGN.
When the Company has told you what can happen in negotiations, the Company has regularly given you examples of SPECIFIC NLRB DECISIONS supporting what the Company says.
The Company has given you specific examples of what has happened in REAL CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS and had the indisputable facts or the contracts to prove it.
The Company has given you specific TRUTHFUL AND VERIFIABLE facts as to the Union’s history in negotiations, including its strike history.
If the things that the Company was saying were untrue, wouldn’t you expect the union to have shown you chapter and verse exactly what Company statements were untrue? But the fact is that the Union never has. Instead it has hidden behind vague and general accusations such as:
“[The Company] deliberately failed to mention the great GCIU contracts at hundreds of other newspapers. They also didn’t mention the 1,100 other GCIU contracts.”
Well ask them to tell you which of these 1,100 contracts provide newspaper pressroom employees wages and benefits even closely comparable to those you have here. Ask them how many they have negotiated in California. Ask them to tell you the TRUTH.
In the upcoming weeks we will continue to tell you the real facts. Consider them and then ask yourself: who is really telling me the TRUTH?
DON’T GAMBLE! – VOTE “NO”
1) Employee was poisoned by his mother-in-law.
2) A buffalo escaped from the game reserve and kept charging the employee every time she tried to go to her car from her house.
3) Employee was feeling all the symptoms of his expecting wife.
4) Employee called from his cell phone, said he was accidentally locked in a restroom stall and no one was around to let him out.
5) Employee broke his leg snowboarding off his roof while drunk.
6) Employee's wife said he couldn't come into work because he had a lot of chores to do around the house.
7) One of the walls in the employee's home fell off the night before.
8) Employee's mother was in jail.
9) A skunk got into the employee's house and sprayed all of his uniforms.
10) Employee had bad hiccups.
11) Employee blew his nose so hard, his back went out.
12) Employee's horses got loose and were running down the highway.
13) Employee was hit by a bus while walking.
14) Employee's dog swallowed her bus pass.
15) Employee was sad.
Editors Comment: No one at the Los Angeles Times would even consider using their sick days, especially with the new policy of use them or lose them.
VBlog is a new word for myself, and refers to Video Blogger's, something rather new to blogs.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Rubalcava said that when he told Hiller he does not like the new positioning of the L.A. Times editorial pages at the back of Section A, rather than the California section, Hiller had told him he was unaware such a change had been made.
Tribune Co.’s new solution: baseball?
It is no secret that the Tribune Co. is feeling the pains of dropping circulation rates and constant staff changes. The company which has investments in major media and entertainment venues across the US seems to be moving forward with raising the value of their assets, or at least one of their assets: The Chicago Cubs Baseball Team.
Tribune company math
Tribune plans to ignore the warnings of its last two publishers and cut 10% of the staff while offering less content.
Tribune Co. Looks Like a Turkey at Thanksgiving
Tribune owns the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, two venerable newspapers that are in disarray because the parent company can’t seem to generate big enough profits to satisfy its investors on Wall Street. Life at the L.A. Times is so chaotic that the paper’s editor and publisher both quit recently, rather than submit to Tribune Co.’s seemingly endless cost-cutting.
Billionaires Burkle And Broad Bid On Tribune Company...
As per recent swirling rumors, the LA Times reports that billionaires Eli Broad and Ron Burkle have put in a bid to buy the embattled Tribune Company.
Another New Bidder For Tribune Company - And Los Angeles Times!
Last week, two Los Angeles billionaires, Eli Broad and Ronald W. Burkle, made a surprise bid for all of the Tribune Company, whose assets include 11 newspapers, two dozen television stations and the Chicago Cubs baseball team.
Chicago Tribune Company Needs to Be Stopped Now
More than once, I’ve written about the goings-on at the Los Angeles Times, but as you may have noticed, those posts have never seen the light of day. Why?
The Giant Wants To Grow
Gannett, the nation's biggest newspaper chain, is reportedly interested in making a bid for pieces of Tribune Co., the nation's second-largest publisher.
It's All In Your Attitude
As mentioned the other day, The Source leaked a few rumors about the Cubs. One that was not discussed on this page is something that has to be considered as a reasonable possibility. That is: Tribune Company will sell off all their non-Chicago assets and leave a core company consisting of the Chicago Tribune Newspaper, WGN TV, and WGN Radio.
CITGO Beginning Change of Name To PETRO EXPRESS
I am forwarding this, because Chavez is starting to feel the loss of revenue from his holdings. He substantially OWNS CITGO.
This is a very important move that everyone should be aware.
ANNOUNCED JUST RECENTLY, CITGO, BEING AWARE THAT SALES ARE DOWN DUE TO U.S. (CUSTOMERS NOT WANTING TO BUY FROM "CHAVEZ"), HAVE STARTED TO CHANGE THE NAME OF SOME OF THEIR LOCATIONS, TO: "PETRO EXPRESS"
DO NOT BUY FROM "PETRO EXPRESS" "PETRO EXPRESS" IS ALSO 100% OWNED BY CHAVEZ" .
PLEASE KEEP THIS MEMO GOING SO EVERYONE KNOWS WHAT IS HAPPENING.
Also of interest: Chavez vows to beat the "devil"
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Friday, November 24, 2006
By Doreen Carvajal / International Herald Tribune
PARIS: The rush of job recruiting ads on MonsterIndia.com tells the story of the latest class of workers to watch their trade start migrating to another continent.
"Urgent requirement for business writers," reads one ad looking for journalists to locate in Mumbai. "Should be willing to work in night shifts (UK shift)."
Another casts for English-speaking journalists in Bangalore with "experience in editing and writing for US/International Media."
Remote-control journalism is the scornful term that unions use for the shift of newspaper jobs to low-cost countries like India or Singapore with fiber-optic connections transmitting information all around the world.
But the momentum for "offshoring" to other countries or outsourcing locally is accelerating as newspapers small and large seek ways to reduce costs in the face of severe stresses, from sagging circulation and advertising revenue to shareholder pressure.
"Outsourcing plays a major part in the newspaper industry of today," the World Association of Newspapers concluded in a study released in July.
The Movable Buffet
How can I forget the night Buffet photographer Sarah Gerke and I saw Paris Hilton walk into a wall at Jet going the wrong way on her way to the bathroom? Oh, Paris Hilton and her precious bodily fluids. The latest is that Joshua Radin reported on his MySpace seeing Paris puke onstage at Tao after a night of imbibing. She apparently was going to pretend to sing one of her songs while the DJ played it and she acted like anyone else forced to hear her sing. How perfect. Tao is also the club where Paris was rumored to have left another bodily fluid inside a plant pot rather than stand in a long bathroom line. Tao is also the club that her then-underage, then-boyfriend was photographed having what looked to be champagne. So, is it any wonder Britney Spears (pantless!) has gone to Paris Hilton to replace whatever void Kevin's presence has left in her life?
From Associated Press
November 24, 2006 1:36 PM EST
MIAMI - A gun-wielding cartoonist dressed in camouflage entered The Miami Herald's building and demanded to speak with an editor Friday, prompting an evacuation of employees, police said.
No injuries were immediately reported, and police spokesman Delrish Moss said authorities believed the man was isolated on the newspaper's sixth floor, which houses the Herald's Spanish-language publication, El Nuevo Herald. Officers set up a perimeter around the downtown building.
The man came through the front door with what appeared to be a machine gun, Moss said.
It wasn't clear whether employees from other floors were being evacuated, but about 60 people were gathered outside the building.
many others were in Los Angeles.
I will be taking alternate freeways to Los Angeles later this afternoon, especially avoiding malls next to the freeway.
The photo was borrowed from MetroBlogging LA.
I'm with Adbusters, and will not make any purchases today.
By Joe Mathews, Times Staff Writer
November 24, 2006
Three months after a two-day strike failed to win better pay for its members, the union representing engineers, architects and other professionals who work for the city of Los Angeles is trying again, beginning with a walkout Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport.
The Engineers and Architects Assn., which represents more than 7,500 city employees, said this week that it is planning small, targeted strikes at different city departments on different days in the weeks ahead.
Sunday's planned one-day strike by about 200 members at LAX appears designed to gain maximum publicity while costing the union little. The strike may involve many office employees who are not scheduled to work Sunday. The most essential EAA workers at LAX, including 41 operational personnel who work on runways and 37 people who are involved in information technology, are barred by a court order from walking off their posts.
But EAA officials are planning picketing at the airport that could affect travelers. Members have been told to gather at a crosswalk near the entrance to Terminal 1. Their presence could slow traffic into and out of the airport on one of the busiest travel days of the year, union officials said.
Robert Aquino, EAA's executive director, declined to disclose dates or locations of future walkouts, but said similar one-day strikes would follow unless the city agreed to improve the pay of EAA workers.
Ed, As the first comment stated, you once supported the union and you were forced by management to take down your "Pro-Union" website, and you did. I respect your change of opinion but wonder if you changed it willingly, or the Company changed it for you. Are your comments for your peers to read...or management?
Ronnie, I did more than support GCIU local 10-N I was the recording secretary for our local, I was involved with house calling, three conventions, attended the AFL-CIO classes on organizing, and many other activities attempting to promote the union at the newspaper. After resigning from local 10-N I brought down my union web site, but this was caused by someone in the union forging my signature on a document, while I was out of the country, not management.
There is a majority of supporters who have the courage to stand up for our Trade and our future and they deserve the security and stability that ONLY a "Collective Bargaining Agreement" will provide!
So what your saying is anyone that has a different view, or plans on voting no, has no courage? The pro-union members themselves have lost more votes, attempting to belittle their co-workers in subtle ways as this, some pro-union members have even poked fun at others because they worked in the cafeteria before transferring into the pressroom. How do you think these individual's will vote?
The Newsday contract that we provided contained the "Successors and Assigns clause under section 29 to PROVE that the contract is "Legally Binding" no matter who takes control of the company.
You must win an election first, then see if the company will agree to the contract, you have a very long way to go before you reach your goal. Time will tell how the new owners of Newsday will treat the pressmen's contract, just pray Dean Singleton doesn't buy Newsday. What if Newsday signs a contract with transcontinental, they will build a new printing plant and burn the contract, as everyone in operations at Newsday will be terminated. And legally binding means nothing, the corporations in America tell our government what to do, no one's watching your back or mine, so I do appreciate your efforts on my behalf.
In closing, I hope the union defeat isn't as lopsided as it has been in prior elections.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Six or seven years ago at the Olympic Facility we were treated to the worst Thanksgiving meal I have ever experienced at the Times, cold pressed turkey that tasted terrible. When Mark Kurtich was made aware of the situation at Oly, everyone was treated to two special meals at our facility; he even brought in a special chef to prepare the meal.
Without a doubt, today’s meal will be tasty, as it has been over the last six or seven years.
Thank you Mark.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Internet users and providers cannot be held liable for posting defamatory material written by someone else, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday.
“The prospect of blanket immunity for those who intentionally redistribute defamatory statements on the Internet has disturbing implications,” Justice Carol Corrigan wrote for the court. But, she added, immunity “serves to protect online freedom of expression and to encourage self-regulation.”
Monday’s decision was consistent with holdings by many federal appeals courts and one other state high court. “The courts are now uniform,” said Ann Brick, who represented the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California in the case.
Los Angeles Times Article: Ruling limits Internet liability
Advertising revenue was down another one percent for the Tribune Company last month, so if the company does nothing, it could end up as many companies have, in bankruptcy court. With the creditors dividing all the assets of the company to satisfy the negative cash flow.
I cannot see the point in having another union election at the Times, what can the union do for us?
Ask the printers at the New York Times how the union saved their jobs, or better yet, the printers at the San Francisco Chronicle, and the printers that once produced the Daily Breeze.
We all know what happens when Dean Singleton buys a newspaper, everyone is handed a pink slip in one hand, and a job application in the other. And most of the newspapers he has purchased are union papers.
The union supporters have said they want a contract that will guarantee certain criteria the new owners of the Los Angeles Times will be forced to honor, do you really think the company would agree to such demands?
I will be voting no when the union election arrives, as I hope you will.
By John Spence, MarketWatch
Last Update: 12:37 PM ET Nov 22, 2006
BOSTON (MarketWatch) -- New York Times Co. has declined a proposal from a group of Boston businessmen, including former General Electric Co. Chief Executive Jack Welch and advertising executive Jack Connors, to buy the Boston Globe, the Globe reported Wednesday.
For those of you that read my blog daily, and friends and family that know me well, I frequent many comedy clubs on a weekly basis. So naturally I have seen my fill of hecklers in the crowd, they are usually young men, with many drinks of alcohol under their belts.
The manner each comic keeps the hecklers in line vary widely, some comic’s walk off stage, others have brought the hecklers on stage, and some just ignore the hecklers all together.
At the Pasadena Ice House, security steps in to quiet the heckler, if prompted by the comic or if the loud mouth is disrupting the show.
This brings to mind the night I brought my daughter Kristine to the Ice House; we were seated in the front row, which means you will be picked on by many of the comic’s. On this particular night the headliner stepped out onto the stage and looked at my daughter and myself, then back at the crowd. He then stated to me “You must take a lot of Viagra to handle such a young girlfriend”.
Needless to say, the crowd was on the floor laughing, but Kristine turned a bright shade of red from being in the spotlight, and yelled out to the audience “He’s my father”.
Jeff Garcia sometimes goes to extremes when it comes to heckling the crowds, my suggestion for the shy types, sit as far away from the stage as you can when being entertained by Jeff.
My dates and myself have been poked fun at many times in several comedy clubs, which I happen to enjoy. But the jokes about myself could be considered racial to some, and unacceptable in a daily newspaper. I date women of color.
Michael Richards’ verbal barrage at two hecklers at his show was completely uncalled for. As a standup comic, he has endured many a heckler, and should have the experience to handle the situation much differently than he did last Saturday.
But don’t take my word for it, view the video and form your own opinions.
Walter Moore has a great cartoon I would suggest viewing regarding the Saturday night rampage by standup comic Michael Richards'.
Over at Native Intelligence, Bob Baker adds a different spin to an apology.
Let’s hope other comics learn a valuable lesson from Michael Richards’.
The Matt Welch link will bring you to his personal blog, and Opinion L.A. takes the reader to the Los Angeles Times blog.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Here's what Mark Lacter (LA Biz Observed) said about the facts: "Considering that no one knows who will be owning the paper in six months, it's hard to imagine any of those "facts" will be very meaningful."
When the anti-union blog is created, I will add it as a link here.
While we wait for the launch, visit Save Our Trade Blog, and Save Our Trade Web Site.
To ring in the new year, the crew at LA City Nerd (me) is looking to award some nifty awards and prizes. I thought of doing this on my own and just putting out my favorites, but I wanted to broaden the scope and ask others in and around the blog-LA-sphere (hat tip to Mike of Franklin Avenue.blogspot.com) for nominations, too. So check out the post (link is below) for the criteria, and nominate people/sites/projects for one (or all) the of categories. I'll sift through the replies, and put up a few online polls to get final input...
I'm hoping to have all nominations in by December 15th, which is creeping up on us rather quickly. I'm also going to be working on getting some awesome prize packs for the winners in addition to their displayable award (and maybe even some prizes for the runner-up). I'll post about that as we get closer.
Thanks for your input and suggestions.
In all that is Los Angeles,
LA City Nerd
Sent: Monday, November 20, 2006 4:17 PM
To: zzAll LATimes Employees
Subject: Update from Dennis FitzSimons
Dear Fellow Employee:
Today we reported companywide revenues for October. The television group posted an increase of 5 percent from a year ago, due in part to strong political advertising. Publishing revenues declined 4 percent, although retail advertising, which includes preprints, rose 3.3 percent. Further details are in the release posted on TribLink and tribune.com.
Preliminary revenue estimates for November show slight improvement for both publishing and broadcasting versus October.
Here are a few other positive developments from around the company:
· The CW Network: Combined ratings in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago since the network's launch in September are up 11 percent from last year when our stations carried The WB. Among viewers 18 to 34, the network's target audience, ratings are up 17 percent.
· Newspaper circulation: We're making good progress on individually paid circulation (home delivery and single copy), the category advertisers value most. Four papers-the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Sun-Sentinel and Daily Press-recently reported growth in daily individually paid, placing them among the top performers in the industry. The Hartford Courant showed individually paid growth on Sundays.
· Newsprint: It appears that the pricing trend for newsprint is flattening for the balance of this year and into 2007, a welcome change from the double-digit price increases we've experienced in recent years.
· Tribune Interactive: Revenues increased 25 percent in October, and our websites recorded 14.3 million unique visitors, the most since May. Expanded video news coverage is helping drive traffic and, in turn, creating new revenue opportunities as more advertisers want to be associated with online video. You'll see more about this in the winter issue of Tribune News.
· Topix.net: Last week, along with Gannett and McClatchy, we increased our investment in Topix.net, a Top 25 news site. This underscores one of our key interactive strategies of using partnerships to build national networks with local affiliates.
· Los Angeles Times: We're beginning to see good results from the Times' distribution agreement with ADVO, which began in August. The agreement expands the newspaper's insert program and will improve cash flow.
Finally, our review of strategic alternatives for the company continues. I'm sure you've been following the media reports, but keep in mind that many of them are based on pure speculation. We'll communicate more as soon as we can, and your patience is appreciated as the process moves forward.
Thank you for your many efforts on behalf of Tribune, and best Thanksgiving wishes to you and your family.
We have been advised that the Union has just filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) seeking to represent our pressroom employees. While we are disappointed, we are not surprised.
Once again our pressroom employees will have to make an important choice that affects them and their families. Given the current business landscape, this may well be your most critical election decision yet. Over the next six weeks or so, the Company will make every effort to provide all of the facts necessary to make an informed decision. We believe that once you have all the facts before you, you will yet again reject the union.
We will keep you updated with respect this important matter.
An internal memo from Mark Kurtich (Senior vice-president of Operations) was posted throughout the Olympic Pressroom last night, I requested a copy of Mark's message via e-mail, but no one was certain if this information could be shared on my blog, Mark?
As e-mail messages are posted on other blogs (from Los Angeles Times management) I will either link to the stories or copy and paste the messages for my co-workers to read, the majority of blue collar workers at the Olympic and Orange County production plants are not allowed to have access to internal messages or Times e-mail accounts, like myself.
I'm forced to read messages regarding the company I have worked at for thirty-four years on blogs, sure shows us blue collar workers where we stand in the eyes of management.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Power Line is conducting a poll and has a list of nominees. They've excluded the New York Times to give other dead-tree outlets a chance. I'd go with the L.A. Times and San Francisco Chronicle for their consistent awfulness, blandness, and blindness, with the exception of dissident columnist Debra Saunders. I don't know how she lasts, but God bless her.
The Chicago-based media conglomerate, which owns the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, WGN-TV and the Chicago Cubs baseball team, said publishing revenue fell nearly 4% from Sept. 24 to Oct. 22. During that four-week period, the company's publishing revenue was $316.9 million, down from $329.8 million during the same period last year.
One bright spot was an 8.4% increase in revenue from its broadcast and entertainment division, which grew to $110.8 million from $102.2 million.
Complete article here.
Tribune staff reporter
Published November 20, 2006
The effort to sell Tribune Co. to the highest bidder will move into Round 2 next week, as preliminary suitors given a peek at the company's books decide whether to stay in the auction or pack their bags and go home.
Tribune management has spent most of November giving a grueling set of presentations to a select group of bidders who in late October made non-binding "expressions of interest" in buying the company whole. Now it is up to the bidders: a collection of private-equity firms, two Los Angeles billionaires and Gannett Co., the nation's largest newspaper publisher.
Will buyout models retooled with new, non-public information justify a set of firmer bids? Or will Tribune management have to move to Plan B: selling or spinning off some of the company's parts?
"We think there will be offers [for the whole company]," said one person with knowledge of management's thinking. "But you don't know anything until the fat lady sings."
Jump to complete article.
Round 2 in Tribune bidding
Mark Lacter' take on Tribune sale at LA Biz Observed can be read here.
Weller was 86 when he plowed his 1992 Buick Le Sabre into the crowded farmers market on July 16, 2003, moments after colliding with another car.
Weller was given five years probation, fined $20,000 and ordered to pay $24,000 in penalties plus restitution to the families of some of his victims for killing ten people at the Santa Monica farmers market.
Instead of investing in delivering more to readers, Tribune plans to ignore the warnings of its last two publishers and cut 10% of the staff.
News organizations step up outsourcing
The company getting work from the Contra Costa Times is KCS in India, which bills itself as the "world's media back office," according to the IHT story. The Los Angeles Times also uses KCS for its graphics.
Daily News, other papers in huge pact with Yahoo
News Group chief executive William Dean Singleton, is intended to help the newspaper industry find firmer footing in a media and advertising landscape upended by the Internet. The Los Angeles Newspaper Group, which includes the L.A. Daily News and seven other Southern California newspapers, is part of MediaNews Group.
A proposal that might save newspapers
Newspapers are not dead yet. But their hoped-for rebirth as Internet ventures requires a new strategy to create value in their journalism. Proposal: Papers should agree to 24-hour delay in release of their content, free, on web.
San Jose Mercury News first wage proposal
Late on Friday, the company delivered to the Guild its proposal for wages, giving us for the first time the real picture of what the company wants from its current employees and how it intends to operate in the future.
Jobs, presses and the future of labor
Like most real, complicated issues, there are many, many shades of gray here.
Google Sees Papers As Next Step For Ads
Google (GOOG) has been testing the sale of remnant ads in Chicago in the Sun-Times, filling ad space that did not receive demand from advertisers. That test has now been expanded to 50 newspapers.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
MONTREAL (CP) - Canadian printing giant Transcontinental Inc. (TSX:TCL.A) is expanding its American presence after winning a 15-year contract worth more than US$1 billion to print Hearst Corp.'s San Francisco Chronicle daily newspaper and related products.
In addition to becoming one of its top five revenue-generating customers, the Hearst deal buttresses Transcontinental's strategy to convince newspapers to outsource their printing.
"It kind of validates their long-term strategy in newspaper outsourcing and their view that this a viable source of growth for them," said Andrea Horan of Genuity Capital Markets in Toronto.
There are no immediate plans for a similar deal with other Hearst properties, but negotiations are continuing with other newspaper owners, Desjardins said.
"Most U.S. newspapers could save 10 to 15 per cent of costs by outsourcing. That gives you an extra point on the margins which, for an industry that's having declining margins, that's a pretty nice bump."
Eighteen months ago I had a terrible feeling regarding the health of the Los Angeles Times and my future employment with the newspaper. My options were to ignore my gut feelings and tell myself everything will remain the same, or to be prepared for change within the next few years and make lifestyle changes, I have chosen the latter.
With balances on six credit cards I decided I needed to cut out my habit of charging things I really didn’t need, just buying things I wanted for that instant gratification it gave me. Four of my six credit cards have been paid off, but it was not without pain from the lack of credit, after cutting the cards up.
I’m told some of the information I share on the blog causes many at the newspaper to become fearful for their livelihood. That is not my intention, but if the truth causes my co-workers to be prepared for change, then so be it.
Back in 1992 the employees of the Los Angeles Times witnessed the first of many buyouts, which have not ceased, with the closing of the Chatsworth Production Facility in 2006. The Transportation Department at the Times has been outsourced to Ryder, the truck mechanics were also let go with the drivers. The entire nursing staff was eliminated, the janitors outsourced, pressroom utility crew outsourced, graphic design department outsourced to India, the mailroom reduced to mostly part-time workers, and the list goes on and on.
The Daily Breeze in Torrance, CA. has outsourced its complete printing operations to Southwest Offset in Gardena, CA., will the Los Angeles Times be next? The San Francisco Chronicle will stop producing its newspaper on May 1st 2009, with two hundred and thirty union pressmen losing their jobs, as Transcontinental takes over production of the newspaper.
As Transcontinental puts it, “We’ve got all the muscle you need. Publishers who outsource their newspaper printing to Transcontinental are assured of a product that will more than satisfy the expectations of their readers and the new needs of advertisers with respect to overall quality, use of color, flexibility and turnaround times.
Transcontinental Printing is the seventh largest printer in North America. We combine leading edge print and post press technologies with a unique, customer-focused management approach. Our new outsourcing model is available to newspaper publishers across North America.
A Transcontinental Printing partnership means you won’t have to do the heavy lifting alone.”
Management at the newspaper may tell us our jobs are secure and we can not reduce staff any further, I’ll tell you, be prepared by having your affairs in order just incase we outsource the production of the Los Angeles Times.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Here's the latest e-mail;
MICROSOFT MEGA JACKPOT EMAIL PROMOTION
BANK OF ENGLAND/MICROSOFT HOUSE, LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
Director: MR. ANDREW GREGRY III
PHONE: +44 704 010 1161
FAX #: +44 700 598 0586
REF NO: M154S/WL04.
MICRO CHIP NO: 9465021
ELECTRONIC MAIL AWARD PROMOTION. MICROSOFT MEGA JACKPOT PROMOTION UNITED KINGDOM
Finally today, we announce the winners of the MICROSOFT MEGA JACKPOT EMAIL PROMOTIONWINNINGS PROGRAMS held on 17TH November, 2006. Your company or your personal e-mail address, won in the second Email Promotion category 002.
You are therefore been approved for lump sums pay out of £5,500,000.00 FIVE MILLION,FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS equivalent to Ten Million, Four hundred and Sixty-four thousand US Dollars. ($10,464,000 USD) in cash credited to file REF NO: M154S/WL04.And MICRO CHIP NO: 9465021, you are the second lucky winner of the total winners of 10. You all won £5.5, million Pounds each.
All the 10 participants were selected through our Microsoft Computer Ballot System(MCBS) drawn from each continent, as part of International "E-MAIL" PromotionsProgram, to promote the use of emails all over the World, and to promote the useof Microsoft Office. Your funds (certified Cashiers cheque) have been insured withyour REF NO: M154S/WL04. To claim your winning prize (£5.5, million pounds), youmust first, contact the claims department by email for Processing and remittance of your prize money to you. The claims processor is:
YOUR CLAIMS OFFICER CONTACT:
Name: Mr. Steven Epps, Jr. (Steve)
Claims agent/Verifying house.
Phone: +44 701 113 3395
Do email the above email address at once with all the claims requirements below in order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications:
1. Full Name:..............................................................
4. Age:.........................Date of Birth:.............................
7. State of Origin:......................Country:..........................
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NOTE: Do not reply this mail. You are to contact your claims processor immediatelyby email. If you have any difficulty, call the PROMOTIONAL DIRECTOR: MR. ANDREW GREGRY III on PHONE: +44 704 010 1161. This promo is all about emails, be aware.
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ANY MAIL RECIEVED OF THIS SUCH WITH ANY OTHER TRADE MARK OR ADDRESS SHOULD BE FOWARDED TO YOUR CLAIMS AGENT IMMEDIATELY; THIS WILL HELP US TO FIGHT SCAM AND LOTTERY IMPOSTERS. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ANTICIPATED CO-OPERATION.
Until I think back some thirty years ago when I was young, and waited in line eight hours to view Star Wars in Westwood. Or waited from the wee hours till TicketTron opened to buy tickets for a Rolling Stones concert, then I can get somewhat of an idea of what our youngsters are doing in line all night.
Have you ever waited in line for hours upon hours when you were young?
On October 30th, 2006, Editor and publisher, ran an article on the termination of one Melinda Burns, whom I suspect was the mystery blogger at the Star Free Press.
There has been nothing posted on the blog since October 25th, which makes this a dead link, I will remove the Santa Barbara Star Free Press from our links on December 2nd if nothing is posted within the next two weeks.
Good luck Ms. Burns, your missed.
For the complete story jump here.
All Times, TCN, CCN and Recycler employees
Los Angeles Times
Monday, Dec. 4, 2006
5pm till 8pm
Rooftop of the employee parking garage
213 S. Spring Street
Because you deserve it.
by Tuesday, November 28, with your name, department, and location to ext. 75390 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Andre Ford is a pressman at the Olympic Facility and his sister, Donna Hill, is a plate maker at the Olympic Facility.
Friday, November 17, 2006
If you read something you agree with, or disagree with, leave a comment so the writers know your there.
The first podcast added was Police Chief William Bratton’s news conference yesterday, November 14, at which he addressed the recent spate of video-taped arrests.
"The technology has evolved from reading web pages, to two-way communication with the blog, and now visitors can actually listen to the spoken word," said LAPD spokesman Lieutenant Paul Vernon. "It's just an other example of the LAPD's commitment to maintain an open line of communication with the public it serves."
Internet visitors can access the LAPD's web sites at www.LAPDOnline.org and www.LAPDblog.org.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
The next round-up in the area will be December 16, 2006 from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. at Brackett Field, Fairplex Dr. & W. McKinley Ave. in the City of La Verne.
For additional information on household hazardous waste collection programs in your area contact, the L.A. County Department of Public Works at 1-888-CLEAN-LA or visit their website by clicking below.
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We've learned how to make a living, but no t a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.
We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete...Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.
Remember, to say, "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.
Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
AND ALWAYS REMEMBER :
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
If you don't send this to at least 8 people....Who cares?
And my reaction is one that any mother would have: Get your hands off my kid, get your threats out of my kid's face, get out you sons of a bitches. You excrement of humanity who live to mete humiliation and physical force to those who are weaker than you.
Whether or not this student in question was simply leaving on his own terms, or whether it was the more serious situation I've just described does not matter. What the loathesome creeps did that night tasered compassion, respect and dignity.
In years gone past it was unheard of for a newspaper to fire its publisher and editor, yet that’s what happened at the Los Angeles Times. The Philadelphia Inquirer let editor Amanda Bennett go, and the Los Angeles Daily News let their publisher and twenty other employees go. The Orange County Register is giving buyouts to five hundred of its sixteen hundred workforce, and this is only a handful of all the newspapers cutting staff across the country.
I’m unsure if the bottom has been reached in this current downward trend of cost cutting, but what tomorrow holds for all newspaper workers across the country is still unclear.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Special thanks goes out to Russ Newton for allowing me to make the troops laugh at his expense, he's a real trooper that has gained the positive attention of many.
Folks, I have no clue to when Ronnie Penada plans to file for a union election, please refer your questions to Ronnie on this matter.
Crime Statistics November 14, 2006
VIOLENT CRIMES .......2006* .......2005* .......% Chg
Homicide .............................414 ...............432............. -4%
Rape ....................................771 ...............826............. -7%
Robbery ..........................12,300........... 11,534.............. 7%
Agg Assaults **................ 12,459........... 13,599............ -8%
Total Violent Crimes 25,944........ 26,391.......... -2%
Burglary......................... 17,107............. 18,661............. -8%
Auto Theft..................... 21,049............ 23,065............. -9%
BTFV............................ 25,392............ 28,493............. -11%
Personal/Other Theft.... 23,930............ 26,668............ -10%
Total Property Crimes 87,478 .....96,887.......... -10%
Total Part I Crimes ....113,422... 123,278........... -8%
* Both 2006 and 2005 crime categories represent Year-To-Date figures. The 2005 figures are not annual totals.
** Prior to 2005, Aggravated Assaults included Child/Spousal Simple Assaults
SOURCE: LAPD Blog
Several investment companies that are among Tribune Co.'s largest shareholders bought more of the stock in the third quarter, betting on a higher share price for the beleaguered media company, financial reports show.
Two major investors who raised their stakes in Tribune, which owns the Los Angeles Times, said a sale or breakup of the company now appeared inevitable.
"I don't think you can put the rabbit back in the hat," said John W. Rogers Jr., chairman of Ariel Capital Management, which owns about 6.6% of the company's shares.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
The former Chicago Tribune managing editor acknowledged that he was stepping into a difficult situation — following popular Editor Dean Baquet, who was ousted last week after battling staff cuts proposed by Tribune Co., The Times' Chicago-based corporate parent.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Will the future of the Tribune Co. be sorted out in just a few weeks? With every new bidder or potential bidder entering the auction process, it's hard to believe the board will be in a position to vote on anything by the end of the year (that had been the plan).
Afternoon rim shot
I'm not sure what the folks at Online News Squared are trying to say about Tribune's potential sale with this "news" item, but they think the Times will be especially interested in the, uh, Southern California angle to the new financial team that is considering a bid:
Times writers on the LAT
There's been a bunch of analyzing, fretting and free advice-giving by staffers at the Times the past couple of days (not to mention Metro reporter Sam Quinones' cheeky email to the publisher — which now has a reply from the boss.) With the new editor arriving at 3 pm to meet the newsroom, let's start with media columnist Tim Rutten:
Gannett mulling bid for Tribune assets
CHICAGO — Gannett Co., owner of The News Journal and the largest newspaper publisher in the nation, has surfaced as a potential buyer of the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers owned by Tribune Co., according to published reports.
How to save the L.A. Times
Harry B. Chandler talks about the Los Angeles Times' hopes for survival. He's a part of the Chandler family, as in "Harry Chandler and his wife, Marian, who established the trusts that controlled The Times and its corporate cousins until the sale to Tribune in 2000." He's got some interesting ideas to save the paper:
The L.A. Times is dying by a thousand cuts
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) - Welcome, James O'Shea, the managing editor of the Chicago Tribune who is taking over as the editor of the beaten-down Los Angeles Times.
The newspaper you're inheriting is dying a death of a thousand cuts.
Before heading out of the Olympic Facility parking lot Sunday morning, Johnny (where is Glendale) Walker, hands out each riders packets. The photo was taken at the 2004 ride, and raises cash for Reading by Nine.
A reader sent this picture to me, claiming it's the vice-president of production, Russ Newton. It looks like Russ, but it's hard to tell without seeing his face. The reader has asked to remain anonymous.
More pictures will be posted as they arrive.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
By Harry B. Chandler, Harry B. Chandler has been a media executive in film, TV, the Internet and at The Times.
November 12, 2006
FOR MONTHS, many of us have been wringing our hands about the situation at the Los Angeles Times. And last week, when Tribune Co. forced out Editor Dean Baquet, it only underscored how dire the situation is at the newspaper. As a member of the Chandler family, which founded and controlled this institution for nearly 120 years, I have found these events to be particularly troubling.
First, let me clear up misconceptions about "the Chandler family." It is not a small group that meets at "the club" on Sundays, but rather 170 living descendants of Harry Chandler and his wife, Marian, who established the trusts that controlled The Times and its corporate cousins until the sale to Tribune in 2000. Many members of this extended family live outside Southern California; most are not named Chandler. Although many of us have a financial interest in Tribune, only eight sit on the board that makes decisions about the trust. I believe only seven, including me, have worked at The Times.
My point is that a family of this size, largely personally disconnected from this newspaper, is unlikely to act in concert toward a solution for The Times. What a shame that is.
Another sports ownership example worth contemplating is community ownership, like that of the Green Bay Packers football team. Article I of its bylaws states, "This association shall be a community project, intended to promote community welfare … its purposes shall be exclusively charitable." Sound appealing? If 20% of Times readers invest $1,000, it could work. I'll write the first check for the Los Angeles Times Community Owners LLC.
Hang in there, Times staffers and readers. There can be a winning season again for this institution, but only if the owners change, or their playbook does.
Complete Article HERE.
Publishers use online tools to lure readers
By Dawn C. Chmielewski
Tribune Newspapers: Los Angeles Times
Published November 12, 2006
Books have long been made into movies. Now, they're heading straight to YouTube.
Michael Connelly adapted the first chapter of his new murder mystery, "Echo Park," into a 10-minute film for YouTube and other online video sites in an attempt to attract new readers.
Book publishers face the same challenge bedeviling all media: how to compete for attention in an entertainment market that includes TV, cable, online social networks, downloadable music and video, podcasts and video games.
The average time Americans spend reading has declined from 117 hours a year in 1999 to about 105 in 2006.
Meanwhile, some 172,000 books were published last year--more than 19 new titles published for every hour of every day of every week.
(Excerpt) Read the full article here.
Management at the Los Angeles Times may not be impressed with the information I supply to my colleagues at the newspaper, but someone needs to keep the blue collar workers informed of what’s occurring at the newspaper.
The editorial Department at the Times knows terminations are heading their way after the first of the year, as can be seen in subtle messages in many of the Times articles I have read. Seven weeks to prepare to leave your job is better than the thirty minutes notice many receive, when given pink slips.
I have posted eight pictures below of the men and women that produce the Los Angeles Times daily, they are real people with families, not positions that need to be restructured and eliminated.