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Thursday, May 31, 2007

So Many Words Left



Here is Al Martinez's final column.

Goodbyes are just too damned hard

Al Martinez

June 1, 2007

I don't know how to say goodbye.

The need to do so has been thrust upon me suddenly, like the quick strike of summer lightning from a nonthreatening sky. I wasn't prepared.

The editor of the section of which my column is a small and barely visible part telephoned on an otherwise uneventful afternoon to say that my column, in its present form, is ending and that I am being given a buyout.

No one asked if I wanted it. I would have said no. I would have said I'm not ready yet. My prose is strong and my mind is clear. I'm still climbing upward. There is still a summit I haven't reached, a sunrise I haven't seen.

But they didn't ask.

And so I sit in our gazebo on this gentle twilight and struggle to write a final column that says what I don't want to say, on a day that I don't want to end.

Cinelli walks up the pathway. "Are you writing the goodbye column?" she asks.

"Right."

"It makes you sad."

"Yeah. I guess."

I am suddenly adrift. Not that an uncertain future cowers me. Other possibilities with this newspaper are under discussion and, either way, I've never been afraid of a blank page. What bothers me most is the manner in which I was told to leave. It could have been better, gentler.

But then, I say to myself, watching the last rays of the sun set our garden aglow, newspaper owners have never been known for their compassion, or newspapers for their permanence.

"You have to say goodbye to so many," Cinelli says.

"I know," I say. "That's the problem."

Goodbye, teachers. Goodbye, bus drivers. Goodbye, housewives. Goodbye, cleaning ladies. Goodbye, restaurant owners. Goodbye, fellow writers. Goodbye valets and waiters and actors and dog walkers and mimes.

Goodbye, old men and little children. Goodbye, dancers and poets and lawyers and weed-pullers. Goodbye, right fielders and tree trimmers. Goodbye, cops and firemen. Goodbye to the frightened. Goodbye to the brave.

You meet a lot of people in 35 years. You watch lives begin and the young grow old. You watch old women die and losers win. You answer God only knows how many letters and respond to more telephone calls than you could ever remember. Questions, answers, comments, shouts, whispers.

And then there's e-mail.

Never have readers been able to react so quickly to a journalist's point of view. Praise comes flying out of cyberspace like the blast of a bugle, and rage like the thunder of drums. Critics rarely back off. Fans rarely abandon you.

I answer one by one, patient with most, respectful to all, in my way.

Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.

"Well," Cinelli says, "at least you'll have more time to, well — "

"To what? Pump iron? Crochet? Bird-watch? I write. That's what I do."

She nods and says, "Yes. I know." Then, suddenly, "Can I fix you a martini?"

I look at her like she has suddenly gone mad. She has never before asked to fix me a martini. She has said, "Do you have to have a martini?" and "Please don't have a martini" and "Damned martinis," but never, "Would you like me to fix you a martini?"

I am a little stunned, the way I was when told that my career was over. "No," I say. "I think I'll skip the martini. For now." I hedge my bet in case I decide later that a martini would not be half bad when I finish this column. I rarely drink and write. When I do, I come off like an odd fusion of Dylan Thomas and James Joyce.

I'm running out of space.

Cinelli kisses me and goes back into the house. There are some trails one must walk alone. Although I do so today, I am aware that others occupy the same forest — those, who like me, are bidding newspapering farewell; some happy to do so, others facing a void in their lives they will never be able to fill.

How do I say goodbye?

Dusk reaches out in a warm embrace. Only vague shards of sunlight remain among the trees and bushes in Cinelli's garden, like Malibu lights emerging to greet the coming night.

It's time to go. I've decided that the best way to say goodbye is to say thank you for the pleasure of your company all these years. I never took you for granted. I never gave you less than my abilities allowed.

The day is over. I close my laptop. I walk to the house. It's too dark to write anymore. Maybe it's better that way.

Goodbyes are just too damned hard.

Tribune Announces Final Results of Tender Offer

TRIBUNE COMPANY PRESS RELEASE
May 31, 2007

Tribune Announces Final Results of Tender Offer

CHICAGO, May 31, 2007 –- Tribune Company (NYSE: TRB) today announced the final results of its tender offer which expired at 5:00 p.m., NewYork time, on Thursday, May 24, 2007. Tribune has accepted for payment 126,000,000 of the 218,132,108 shares tendered in the tender offer, at a price of $34.00 per share. The shares tendered represent approximately 90 percent of shares outstanding, and the shares that Tribune will repurchase represent approximately 52 percent of shares outstanding. Following the repurchase, Tribune will have approximately 117,000,000 shares of common stock outstanding.

Because more than 126,000,000 shares were tendered in the tenderoffer, proration of tendered shares, except for “odd lots” (lots heldby owners of less than 100 shares), was required. Based on the number of shares tendered, the company will apply a proration factor of0.5771140650. The proration factor is based on the ratio of126,000,000 shares (the total number of shares to be repurchased) to the total number of shares properly tendered and not properly withdrawn by all shareholders, other than “odd lot” holders.

The company will commence payment for shares purchased in the tenderoffer promptly and in any event no later than June 5, 2007. Payment for shares purchased will be made in cash, without interest. The company will promptly return shares that it does not purchase to the tendering stockholders at the company’s expense.

“We are pleased with the results of the tender offer and its successful conclusion,” said Dennis FitzSimons, Tribune chairman, president and chief executive officer. “The first stage of our transaction that will result in Tribune Company going private is now complete. We look forward to obtaining the necessary approvals for the next stage of the transaction and to completing the transition to a private company.”

Merrill Lynch & Co., Citigroup Global Markets Inc., J.P. MorganSecurities Inc. and Banc of America Securities LLC served as Co-Dealer Managers for the tender offer. Innisfree M&A Incorporated served as Information Agent and Computershare Trust Company, N.A. served as the Depositary. Any questions about the tender offer may be directed to Innisfree M&A at 501 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022, telephone(877) 825-8621 (banker and brokerage firms call collect (212)750-5833).

To view the full press release on the Internet, go to: Tribune Online

Tribune Employees Talk: Sad days in LA

Sad days in LA

In his memo today to LAT staff, publisher David Hiller wrote "We eliminated approximately 170 positions, mostly through the voluntary buyouts; we are planning to hire back approximately 50 positions in the core paper to strengthen talent in multi-media, local coverage, marketing and sales. In addition, we will be adding likely more than 30 additional staff in interactive before the end of the year."

Wait. Fifty-seven hard-working, content-providing journalists are out of a job! Were any of the folks (we've heard were) "encouraged" to leave the paper offered opportunities under the new LAT plan? A plan outlined in the April 23 buyout announcement and described again in more detail in today's memo, that surely was in the can early on.

It won't be lost on many readers and observers (example here) that the changes LAT upper management hopes now to achieve will have been at the expense of staff who have dedicated years of talent and service to the paper, their community and the journalism industry. Neither will it be lost on most that it is their contributions which have produced the profits now lining the pockets of upper Tribune management types.

Hiller writes that everyone has to be involved in how change happens and should be "invested with a sense of urgency", but how much involvement will the remaining journalists really have in the forward direction of the paper and it's web site? The staff is invited to "think about what you can do; talk to your manager and colleagues about it" and "Let me hear from you if you have ideas you want to share", but will workers' concerns about corporate profits being put before public interests also be considered?

"We are a living, changing organization and this [is] all part of how we adapt", wrote Hiller at the end of his memo.

A living, changing organization adapts best when it's workers — the ones making the biggest and most valuable contribution to the success of the changed organization — are truly included in the process. Regrettably, that can only happen when workers speak with one voice.

Message from David Hiller - Publisher LAT

From: Hiller, David
Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2007 9:17 AM
Subject: Times Change - What's Next

Folks –

I want to bring you up to date on change underway at The Times, what to look for next, and what you can do.

First, evidence mounts every day of the big, pressing need to change our business. The old model is broken, and it’s showing in our financial performance. Revenue in April was down nearly 9%, and May will be down about the same. Cash flow is down even more, with April 34% below last year – leaving us with a cash flow margin in the low teens. We are not alone, and are doing better than some – there are large metro papers that are losing money and some not much better than breaking even. The urgency of our situation is heightened by the Zell/ESOP transaction. The future value of the company - and the ESOP - depends upon our cash flow results to pay down the debt and invest for growth. If anybody has any doubt about the need to change our business to stay successful, please let me know.

So, how are we going to change? We are mobilizing on multiple fronts:

We are adding technology and online product development resources. A little later today, we are announcing that Scott Sullivan has joined latimes.com as chief technology officer and will be building the teams to speed our development and rollout of new interactive products in the second half of 2007 and 2008. High on the priority list will be new local entertainment and listings products, building off the current calendarlive.com offering. We’ve also made initial investments in the camera and editing equipment necessary for our developing video strategy and continue to address our multimedia editorial training and staffing needs.

Project Reinvent is well underway with its mission of re-conceiving the core print paper “from scratch”, true to our journalistic mission and focused sharply on what readers need and want from a print newspaper today. This cross-company team is looking at everything, including how we organize ourselves and the paper, local coverage, story selection, length, presentation, you name it. We’re getting their full report in the next 30 days and will take action right away.

Speaking of local, we are actively working ways of increasing local revenue, including options for better zoning both ads and editorial content, and expanding the reach of Times Community Newspapers.

Hoy is showing strong growth in the Spanish-speaking part of our community, and looking at expanding its Fin de Semana weekend product.

There is also lot of value if we can put more papers through our plants and distribution systems and we are looking at ways to innovate in operations and distribution - likely in collaboration with other newspapers in SoCal.

The recent EVSP program was a difficult but important part of how we are changing – reducing expenses in the core and investing for growth. As part of this, we are both eliminating some positions and adding back some positions. We eliminated approximately 170 positions, mostly through the voluntary buyouts; we are planning to hire back approximately 50 positions in the core paper to strengthen talent in multi-media, local coverage, marketing and sales. In addition, we will be adding likely more than 30 additional staff in interactive before the end of the year. We are a living, changing organization and this all part of how we adapt.

In summation, here are the headlines and I hope they are familiar:
Re-tool everything to be fully multimedia
Grow online faster - integrate with print
Re-invent the core newspaper to better serve our local audience and reflect how readers live, and use print today
Offer more products for more audience segments, like Hoy for the Spanish-speaking SoCal community
Invest and re-allocate resources for growth
Get all at The Times engaged and fired-up about where we are going

With all of these change initiatives underway, being really good at execution is more important than ever. To help us with that, we are naming Elisa Nye to a newly created position of Director/Project Management to help us make sure our actions are well aligned with our priorities and being effectively accomplished.

You also saw Dennis FitzSimons’ organization announcement Tuesday, designed to make our whole Tribune organization more focused, with Scott Smith spending more of his time on the Chicago Tribune, and me and several others reporting directly to Dennis. Dennis is coming out here today to talk about our change initiatives and also discuss similar efforts under way all across Tribune. John O’Loughlin and Russ Stanton are representing us on the Tribune-wide team helping lead these efforts.

Every one of us has to be involved in how we change for the future and invested with a sense of urgency. Many of you already are, but all of us have to be. Every idea for new revenue, every way to do our jobs more effectively, every time we serve a customer better, it all adds up. Think about what you can do; talk to your manager and colleagues about it. Let me hear from you if you have ideas you want to share.

We – and all of our readers, users and advertisers – are in this together.

David

SOURCE: LAObserved

Save Our Trade: Farewell to a couple of friends


Farewell to a couple of friends

By Al Albanes

"The time that all of us dreamed of it is finally here for two of the best pressmen I've known. John Garay with 35 years of service and Mark Crawford with 31.These are times that we realize how fast time goes by, times when we realize that over the years we spent and shared moments that made us laughed, got together for family picnics, shared a beer or two. We may not agreed about everything at work, but it was fun and those memories will be with us forever...Congratulations guys, best of luck. You earned it."

Blood Letting Continues at Los Angeles Times

At last night’s festival, in honor of John Garay, our human resources representatives were absent, after emailing they would be at the event. I have received word that Alma Perez was the latest victim of downsizing at the Los Angeles Times, and was let go yesterday.
Let’s hope this is but a bad rumor at Olympic, and not the truth.

Many Los Angeles Times employees are concerned that today will be their last day at the newspaper. If familiar faces are missing in the workplace tomorrow, we will assume the worst, they have left the company.

Events like this drags employee moral to new lows, which also makes the workers remaining at the newspaper wonder how much longer before they come after me?

UPDATE: Alma Perez is still with the newspaper, she attended a get together for two other human resources employees that have left the company last night.

Tribune Employees Talk: What's really behind the failed sale of The Stamford Advocate and Greenwich Time?

What's really behind the failed sale of The Stamford Advocate and Greenwich Time?

First, we want to congratulate the UAW local for fighting for its members at The Stamford Advocate.

Second, we don't for a minute think the union is to blame for the failure of Tribune to close the sale of the those 2 papers.

Maybe the deal started to unravel when Gannett demanded that Stamford Advocate newsroom staff reapply for their jobs in violation of the union contract.

Then after a judge upheld an arbitrator's decision requiring the employees' collective bargaining agreement be included in the Tribune/Gannett deal, Gannett sought to revise language of the sale agreement that would "compensate for the union contract", according to a Gannett spokesperson.

Could an agreement covering 34 newsroom staff derail the deal? We doubt it. "We have a very modest contract, nothing that Gannett couldn't handle," Maida Rosenstein, UAW Local 2110 told Greenwich Time.

So here's the thing: Like Tribune, Gannett is a union employer. It has bought Guild-covered properties in the past, like the Indianapolis Star-News and The Sheboygan Press (Wisconsin) and assumed the union contracts.

So what really happened to the deal in Connecticut? Why did Gannett go to such an extreme to haggle out a deal that would "compensate" it for a union's representation at one of the papers?

Blaming the union would be just too convenient. Could it be that the deal fell through because the amount Gannett agreed to pay didn't look so good months after they originally made the $73M deal?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Al on KPCC





Scuttlebutt has it that Al Martinez will be on KPCC sometime this Friday to discuss his unceremonious ending at the LA Times. Not sure what time, but check their website that day.

And Then They Swam Back To The Sea



The whales returned to the Ocean today.
It was a very long journey for them, and at times none of us thought they'd make it.
Scientists said they've had no sightings of the whales today, and believe the two have gone under the Golden Gate Bridge and are on their way back north.
God Speed, Mama and Baby Whale.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

LAT Employees Taking the Buyout



We hear a lot of noise about editorial employees of the newspaper leaving, and almost nothing about the other workers leaving the newspaper through the buyouts. Here's the list of non-editorial employees leaving the Los Angeles Times this Thursday, with several hundred years of service.

  • Glenn Bocatija
  • Colette Chaffee
  • Russ Christensen
  • Carlotta Clementin
  • Alicia Collins
  • Leslie Cox
  • Mark Crawford
  • Frank Cruz
  • Paula Ferrini
  • John Garay
  • Ken Graupmann
  • Leonora Gutierrez
  • Michael Harnish
  • Lin Lam
  • Sean McCartan
  • Finch McGee
  • Ronald Morgan
  • David Puopolo
  • Steven Rodriquez
  • Fred Schabowski

We wish them well and they will be missed by all of us.

Media News


Take Back the Times: O'Shea Fails To Promise No More Buyouts

O'Shea Fails To Promise No More Buyouts

One significant omission in L.A. Times "editor" James O'Shea's latest memo to the Times staff, as a friend noted to me today, was any promise that the latest destructive buyout will be the last.

Already, there are rumors of another buyout in December.

Tribune Employees Talk: Tendered shares will be paid by June 5

Tendered shares will be paid by June 5

Tribune announced last Friday that around 92% of of shares outstanding were tendered by the May 24 expiration of the tender offer.

The offer was for 126,000,000 shares but because 224,000,000 were tendered by shareholders, the shares will be purchased on a pro rata basis.

Easy-Writer: Kanani: Over on The Writerly Pause


An interview with writer Annie Proulx by Charlie Rose
as well as the result of our Fantasy Island Writer's Happy Hour.
Watch the interview by going here, scrolling down our side bar and clicking on the videobar.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Great Weather for a Picnic

I'm leaving for Elyian Park in a few minutes, the weather is just perfect for a day outside. Regular posting will resume Monday night, until then have a great holiday everyone.

The picnic is open for anyone that would like to attend, just jump over to BlogDowntown for details and a map of where we are, starts at 2:00 p.m.

Good To Be Home

It's been quite a week, and I'm happy to be home. It's tough living out of a suitcase.

However, I would recommend a visit to New Orleans for anyone who enjoy good music, carriage rides, luscious drinks and Cajun food! I enjoyed it so much that I missed my flight out this afternoon! Luckily, I was able to get on a later flight and returned home several hours later than anticipated. But at least I was able to return home on the same day and not have to sleep at the airport in Houston until tomorrow. WHEW!

Now, I'm tired but have two days to rest before work on Tuesday.

Here's wishing everyone a Happy and Safe Memorial Day.

STAY POSITIVE FOLKS!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Happy Memorial Day Weekend

I hope everyone is having a good Memorial Day weekend. This year finds us at home for the most part. I say that because my youngest daughter, Nikki, plays softball and made the All Star team this year. This means that for the next few weeks, we'll be watching softball tournaments in various locations. This weekend's tournament is in Norco. I've never been to Norco before and was quite surprised to find out that the park the girls are playing in is directly across the street from a prison. Somehow, I couldn't stop looking at the buildings and barbed-wire fence and wondering about what goes on there.

The other event this weekend was my Aunt Avelina's 80th birthday party. There were originally 4 children in my mother's family. Now only my mother and her sister are left. It was wonderful being with all my relatives again. My Aunt Silvia remarked to me that she was so glad to see everyone at a birthday party instead of a funeral. Sadly, it is true that we seem to gather only after someone has died.

Whatever you do, please have a safe weekend. Don't drink and drive, and remember to say a prayer for our troops currently serving in various parts of the world. God bless everyone and stay safe.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Rumor Central: Ya heard it here first...

"Our editors concluded it was time for a change of direction in our lineup of columnists." -The Management

The Pressmen are proud to introduce the NEWEST columnist at the LA TIMES. Popular with that certain non-reading demographic, multicultural appeal, cross-generational, and tremendous "X" factor!


For The Weekend

Only because it's so much better than reading all the memos.
Here's more Lemonette , the sane alternative to the Tribune.


Note: Ed will start automoblogging next weekend. However, the camera will be on the passenger. If he offers you a ride, just make sure your shirt isn't on inside out.

"There's the mirror, there's the camera, there's the fuzzy dice, there's Ed".

And here's my favorite Crab Dip --I found it on Cooks.com after a losing the original one clipped from a newspaper twenty years ago! I'm having a party this weekend. This is high in calories and cholesterol. You will need to work out prior to and after.

CRAB, CLAM OR SHRIMP MOLDED DIP
2 cans crab, drained and flaked
1 sm. pkg. Knox gelatin, unflavored
1/4 c. cold water
1 can undiluted cream of mushroom soup or cream of celery
1 c. mayonnaise
1 lg. pkg. cream cheese
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. onion juice
1/4 to 1/2 c. finely chopped celery
1/4 c finely diced red onion
1 tsp. dried or fresh dill
Juice of 1 sm. lemon

Dissolve gelatin in cold water. Heat undiluted soup to boiling; add gelatin and chill until thick. While waiting mix all other ingredients together except seafood. Add to gelatin soup mixture, then add seafood. Chill in mold until firm. Turn out mold on lettuce or surround with sprigs of parsley. Serve with potato chips and/or crackers as a spread or dip. Make this a day before. Keeps well.

Sick of the "official line"

So here is the line from "Someone At The Times" in regards to Al's departure.

"My understanding is he volunteered for it. A pretty good payday, I heard, especially for a 77-year-old who would have been put out to pasture a long time ago in most other professions."
(well, except for this profession, which has traditionally valued the skills and opinions of people like.... Walter Cronkite, David Halberstam, Jack Smith, Jim Murray, Pauline Kael, Journos Emeritus, if you please.)

Quite frankly, I think "volunteering" is a long stretch.
It's sort of like me telling my kid, "clean your room or they'll be no TV tonite." He'll do it, but he didn't want to.
From what we've heard straight from the lion's mouth is that he really didn't want to quit, had no intention of ever stopping his biweekly column. And in our meeting with him last month, he intended to finish out his career here.

I think Bill Boyarski has the best point of view in his article, "Dumping Al."

Message from Jay W. Scott - HR Sr. Manager

From: Scott, Jay
Sent: Friday, May 25, 2007 10:38 AM
To: zzAll LATimes Employees
Subject: Food Services Update - Operating Schedule

Colleagues,

As you are aware, we are making some changes to our food service operation. We are excited to welcome our new vendor, CulinArt, effective June 4, 2007.

Please refer to my email of May 3, 2007 for more information but here is some important information in regard to the operating schedule for the next week and some information on this weekend’s Spring Street Café operating schedule.

Gallery

Closes on Friday, May 25, with catering continuing through Thursday, May 31

Spring Street Café

Memorial Day Weekend operating hours: 12 noon to 6pm, Friday, Saturday & Sunday

Closed from Thursday, May 31 at 2pm through the weekend

Reopens Monday, June 4 at 7am

Olympic and Orange County Cafés

Closed from 2pm Wednesday, May 30 through the weekend

Reopening Monday, June 4 at 7am

Catering trucks will be available during certain times, additional information to follow

Vending machines

Changing them out starting next week

New machines in and available Monday, June 4

Since the cafés will be closed and vending machines limited for a long weekend in order to transition to CulinArt, please make other arrangements for your dining needs during this time. We apologize for any inconvenience. We are eagerly anticipating the re-opening of the cafés on Monday, June 4, so please come and check them out.

Thanks,

Jay W. Scott
Sr. Human Resources Manager
Compensation/HRIS/Employee Services
Los Angeles Times

Message from Dennis FitzSimons - CEO Tribune

From: Dennis FitzSimons
Sent: Friday, May 25, 2007 9:09 AM
Subject:

Dear Fellow Employee:

It’s been a busy few weeks. Sandwiched around our annual shareholders’ meeting, I met with employees at Newsday, Chicago Tribune, WGN Radio and TV, the Los Angeles Times and KTLA, and with all of our TV general managers at the CW fall preview meeting for advertisers last week in New York. Scott Smith held meetings at our newspapers in Florida and at Newsday. In addition, John Reardon and John Vitanovic have so far visited 11 of our television stations.

At each meeting we discussed the ESOP/Zell transaction and fielded questions from employees. It was quite apparent that some misperceptions are still out there, so I want to take this opportunity to clarify a couple of issues more broadly.


· Sam Zell is acquiring Tribune Company.

  • Many people seem to think that Sam Zell has already acquired or will acquire Tribune Company later this year—that is not accurate. What is accurate is that Sam will sponsor, through his investment in Tribune, a going-private transaction. When the transaction closes, expected in the fourth quarter of 2007, Tribune will be owned entirely by an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). The ESOP will own 56.5 million shares of Tribune stock, which will be 100 percent of the outstanding shares at that time.

  • Last month, Sam made an initial investment of $250 million in Tribune. Upon closing, his investment will increase to $315 million and he’ll become chairman of Tribune’s board of directors. I will remain as CEO and as a director. Following the close, Sam also will hold a warrant to acquire 40 percent of Tribune’s common stock at any time within the next 15 years.
  • Full details about Tribune’s ownership structure are posted on the employee information website, available through TribLink and http://tribuneathome.com.

  • · The role of the ESOP Trustee.

  • During every stage of the transaction announced on April 2, employees were represented in the negotiations by GreatBanc Trust Company, one of the most experienced ESOP trustees in the country. GreatBanc acts as the ESOP Trustee for major U.S. corporations, including ABN/AMRO/LaSalle, Citigroup, Hartmarx, Rite Aid, Sherwin-Williams, Provident Bank and Wells Fargo & Company.

  • On behalf of the new Tribune ESOP and its participants, GreatBanc negotiated for and acquired its shares of Tribune stock at $28, which compares favorably to the $34 price paid by Sam Zell to purchase his shares.

  • As the ESOP trustee, GreatBanc will vote all Tribune shares owned by the ESOP on all matters submitted to a shareholder vote, such as the annual election of directors and ratification of the company’s auditor. GreatBanc will not sit on the board, which is consistent with the role of trustees at other ESOP-owned corporations.

  • In the event of a future merger or sale of all or substantially all of the company’s assets, employees will direct the ESOP trustee on how to vote the shares which have been allocated to their ESOP accounts.

If you have additional questions on this or other topics, I again encourage you to visit the employee information website. If your question is not addressed there, use the “Ask a Question” feature on the website and you’ll receive a prompt response.

Later this year you will receive additional communication about our new benefit plans, including the ESOP. Please remember that the first allocation to employees from both the cash balance plan and the ESOP will be made in January 2009 for the 2008 calendar year.

Today we announced the preliminary results of our stock tender offer that closed yesterday. Our press release with full details is available on TribLink and www.tribune.com, and we’ll issue another release with final results next week. The tender was clearly successful, and we’re now very close to completing the first stage of our going-private transaction.

As you know, regulatory approval will be one of the final steps in the process. On that front we received some good news last Friday when a bipartisan group of 14 members of Illinois’ congressional delegation wrote to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, urging him to act quickly on issues related to our transaction.

In the meantime, it’s important that we focus on business. Right now the revenue situation at both our newspapers and television stations is difficult. Interactive growth is good but not enough to make up for the decline in print. We expect trends to improve in the second half of the year, especially in the television group. Having seen recent presentations for the CW network’s fall line-up last week, we are optimistic. Along with the debut of “Family Guy” and “Two-and-a-Half Men” on many of our stations, the fall TV season looks promising.

Finally, a quick word about the “legal language” included below – it is a necessary inclusion at this time due to the upcoming shareholder meeting on the ESOP/Zell transaction.

Thanks for all you’re doing as we look forward to an important new chapter in Tribune’s history.


Sincerely,
Dennis

Important Additional Information Regarding the Merger and the Tender Offer will be filed with the SEC

In connection with the proposed merger transaction, Tribune Company will file a proxy statement and other documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). BEFORE MAKING ANY VOTING DECISION WITH RESPECT TO THE PROPOSED MERGER TRANSACTION, INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS ARE URGED TO READ THE PROXY STATEMENT AND OTHER RELEVANT MATERIALS WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE, BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION. Investors and security holders may obtain a free copy of the proxy statement (when available) and other documents filed by Tribune with the SEC at the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov. The definitive proxy statement and other relevant documents may also be obtained free of charge on Tribune’s website at www.tribune.com or by directing a request to Tribune Company, 435 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611, Attention: Investor Relations.

You may also read and copy any reports, statements and other information filed by Tribune with the SEC at the SEC public reference room at 450 Fifth Street, N.W. Room 1200, Washington, D.C. 20549. Please call the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330 or visit the SEC’s website for further information on its public reference room.

Tribune Company and its directors and executive officers may be deemed to be “participants” in the solicitation of proxies from the shareholders of Tribune in connection with the proposed merger transaction. Information about Tribune and its directors and executive officers and their ownership of Tribune common stock is set forth in the accompanying proxy statement for Tribune’s 2007 Annual Meeting of Shareholders. Shareholders and investors may obtain additional information regarding the interests of Tribune Company and its directors and executive officers in the merger transaction, which may be different than those of Tribune’s shareholders generally, by reading the proxy statement and other relevant documents regarding the merger transaction, which will be filed with the SEC.

This document is for informational purposes only and is not an offer to buy or the solicitation of an offer to sell any shares of Tribune’s common stock. The solicitation of offers to buy Tribune’s common stock is being made pursuant to the offer to purchase and related materials that the company has sent to its shareholders. Shareholders should read those materials carefully because they contain important information, including the various terms and conditions of the offer. Shareholders can obtain copies of the offer to purchase and related materials filed by Tribune Company as part of the statement on Schedule TO with the SEC on April 25, 2007, as amended, through the SEC’s internet address at http://www.sec.gov without charge. Shareholders can also obtain copies of the offer to purchase and related materials, filed with the SEC (excluding exhibits), without charge from the company or by written or oral request directed to Innisfree M&A Incorporated, 501 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10022, telephone number 1 (877) 825-8621 (banks and brokerage firms call collect (212) 750-5833).

Forward-Looking Statements

This document contains certain comments or forward-looking statements that are based largely on the company’s current expectations and are subject to certain risks, trends and uncertainties. You can identify these and other forward looking statements by the use of such words as “will,” “expect,” “plans,” “believes,” “estimates,” “intend,” “continue,” or the negative of such terms, or other comparable terminology. Forward-looking statements also include the assumptions underlying or relating to any of the foregoing statements. Actual results could differ materially from the expectations expressed in these statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ include risks related to the transactions being consummated; the risk that required regulatory approvals or financing might not be obtained in a timely manner, without conditions, or at all; the impact of the substantial indebtedness incurred to finance the consummation of the tender offer and the merger; the ability to satisfy all closing conditions in the definitive agreements; difficulties in retaining employees as a result of the merger agreement; risks of unforeseen material adverse changes to our business or operations; risks that the proposed transaction disrupts current plans, operations, and business growth initiatives; the risk associated with the outcome of any legal proceedings that may be instituted against Tribune and others following announcement of the merger agreement; and other factors described in Tribune’s publicly available reports filed with the SEC, including the most current annual 10-K report and quarterly 10-Q report, which contain a discussion of various factors that may affect Tribune’s business or financial results. These factors, including also the ability to complete the tender offer or the merger, could cause actual future performance to differ materially from current expectations. Tribune is not responsible for updating the information contained in this document beyond the published date, or for changes made to this document by wire services or Internet service providers. Tribune’s next quarterly 10-Q report to be filed with the SEC may contain updates to the information included in this document.

Save Our Trade: Project: Newsletter

Project: Newsletter

By Al Albanes

"For the longest time has bothered me the spread of rumors and how stories change from mouth to mouth, then it occurred to me volunteer to redesign and existing site that is meant to help clear some of the rumors and talk about facts and find ways to make our job easier and enjoyable."

[snip]

"Remember is not about taking sides anymore, is about working together and helping each other."

Easy-Writer: Kanani: Callous Treatment of a Fifty Year Journalist

Callous Treatment of a Fifty Year Journalist

It's the same with Al Martinez. He has a fan base too. He represents the Times when it was a great paper. Whether you want to think of it as a point of civic pride or just nostalgia, people like me keep our subscription even though it's painful to see this paper being treated as though it were an entrant in a demolition derby.

Frankly I can't believe that getting rid of a biweekly columnist like Al is going to make a huge dent in their bottom line. No, he got swept in with some quota that said, "X number of jobs must go." And so I think with moves like this, it becomes apparent that the paper is entrenched in the same track as the rest of society: more information, but far less critical thinking.

TRIBUNE COMPANY PRESS RELEASE

TRIBUNE COMPANY PRESS RELEASE
May 25, 2007

Tribune Announces Preliminary Results of Tender Offer

CHICAGO, May 25, 2007 –- Tribune Company (NYSE: TRB) today announced the preliminary results of its stock tender offer which expired at 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on Thursday, May 24, 2007. Based on the preliminary count by the depositary for the tender offer, approximately 224 million shares were tendered by shareholders, representing approximately 92 percent of the shares outstanding.

The tender offer to repurchase up to 126,000,000 shares of the company’s common stock for $34.00 per share was made pursuant to the previously disclosed merger agreement among Tribune, the Tribune Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), the ESOP’s merger subsidiary and an affiliate of Sam Zell.

Because more than 126,000,000 shares were tendered, the company will purchase shares on a pro rata basis. “Odd lots”—stock holdings of less than 100 shares—will not be prorated. The proration of shares will be based on the ratio of the number of shares properly tendered and not properly withdrawn by a shareholder to the total number of shares properly tendered and not properly withdrawn by all shareholders, other than “odd lot” holders.

The number of shares tendered is preliminary and subject to verification by the depositary. The Company will commence payment for shares purchased in the tender offer promptly upon determination of the final proration factor and in any event no later than June 5, 2007. Payment for shares purchased will be made in cash, without interest.

Merrill Lynch & Co., Citigroup Global Markets Inc., J.P. MorganSecurities Inc. and Banc of America Securities LLC served as Co-Dealer Managers for the tender offer. Innisfree M&A Incorporated served as Information Agent and Computershare Trust Company, N.A. served as the Depositary. Any questions about the tender offer may be directed to Innisfree M&A at 501 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022, telephone 877/825-8621 (banker and brokerage firms call collect 212/750-5833).

Full report can be viewed online here.

Tribune Employees Talk: LAT newsroom will LOSE 57, but ...

LAT newsroom will LOSE 57, but ...

According to editor Jim O'Shea in a memo to the staff today "some highly talented people are leaving the staff and I hate to see them go. No one enjoys going through something like this, least of all me. This is a time of wrenching change at our paper ..."

In the same memo: "In the editorial department, 57 members of the staff will be leaving the paper ... We will replace a significant number of people, though, to offset the decline."

Those who left under their own volition might look at the severance package as a gift. It is not.

It is money earned over the years for contributing to the greatness of the Los Angeles Times. For those who were pushed out — or whose jobs were eliminated: it's a shame no effort was made to keep those hard-working and talented employees.

At the end of the day, the LAT severance package falls far short of how loyal employees should be treated. Indeed, it remains to be seen if the new replacements will be hired because they are highly talented or just another poorly disguised corporate move to pay lower salaries.

Wrenching time of change indeed. For the 57.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Valuable Offer from our Client -- Just Tires

From: Caryl, Jeffrey
Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2007 1:39 PM
To: zzAll LATimes Employees
Subject: FW: Valuable Offer from our Client -- Just Tires

Here's a great deal from one of our clients - Just Tires. they're offering LAT employees their "employee discount" on all new tire purchases through Monday, May 28th. Although no coupon is necessary, it would be nice to print this out and let them know that you're from the Los Angeles Times.

Our mutual client, Just Tires, is offering Employee Pricing to the public this weekend, and they have asked that we help spread the message with good, old fashioned "word-of-mouth!" This is a great deal to share with your co-workers, friends and family members. Also if you have the ability to share this with your station's "loyal listeners" or your papers "opt-in" readers, please do because it is a great offer! No coupon is necessary, just go to one of the Just Tires locations in the area 5/24-5/28 and you will receive Employee Pricing!


If you, your family or friends are looking to buy tires, this is the weekend to shop at Just Tires. All through Memorial Day weekend, Thursday, May 24 through Monday, May 28, you can get employee prices at Just Tires locations. That means you get the employee discount on all Goodyear and Dunlop tires. There are also some great mail-in rebate offers on both Goodyear and Dunlop tires this weekend. Details and locations are available at www.justtires.com.

Prayer Request for Former Pressman John Bragg

The following email arrived from Richard L Renchard today.

"Emmitt Jamie, Gus Carrion, Mark Agnew, And myself visited John Bragg at Kaiser Hospital in Anaheim yesterday the 23rd. For your information John has been diagnosed with Acute Leukemia. He is very seriously ill. I would like for you to send everone on your list this info. John needs our prayers for his complete recovery. It is my hope that everyone who knows John will pray for him."

I will post updates with the address of the hospital as soon as I have further information.

Message From Jim O"Shea - Editor LAT

From: OShea, James
Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2007 4:14 PM
Subject:

To the staff:

Today the Los Angeles Times completed a voluntary and involuntary employee separation program. The vast majority of people leaving the newspaper will depart voluntarily over the next few weeks. The total also included a very small number of involuntary departures. Everyone who will be leaving has been notified. All will receive a generous separation package that includes salary continuation and outplacement assistance.

In the editorial department, 57 members of the staff will be leaving the paper, not including a few editorial assistants whose positions are being converted to part time jobs in reorganization. We will replace a significant number of people, though, to offset the decline. We are also examining our polling operation to determine if reorganization could increase revenues while achieving further savings. We expect to complete this examination in the next couple of months.

Some highly talented people are leaving the staff and I hate to see them go. No one enjoys going through something like this, least of all me. This is a time of wrenching change at our paper and in our industry. I wish those leaving all the best. I pledge to do anything I can to help them with their futures.

Now it is time to move forward and meet the huge challenges ahead. Even after this reduction, we have a strong, large and talented staff eager to tackle the industry-wide problems that have made staff adjustments an unfortunate reality in nearly every paper in the nation.

We must move on and convert our staff into a vibrant multi-media organization that breaks news on the web and explains and analyzes it in our newspaper. These moves are well underway and will bring us success. I refuse to believe the headlines that the future of news organizations is bleak. We face a dim future only if we refuse to change and do something about it. Hundreds of committed, excellent journalists remain on our staff, producing stellar news and cultural coverage. The Los Angeles Times will remain a full-service newspaper providing the best and most sophisticated coverage of the city, the region, the state, the nation and the world.

I will be meeting with individual departments over the coming weeks to answer questions and solicit ideas about how we can make the Los Angeles Times and latimes.com an even better operation. We must show the world that, as our circulation stabilizes, we are growing rapidly on-line and our overall readership is rising, despite the industry's problems. I truly believe the news and headlines will get better in the coming weeks and months.

Creativity, flexibility, innovation, great storytelling and smart editing will mark the road to our future. We are journalists and we must sustain and grow our ability to explain Southern California and the world beyond to the people living in this dynamic and vast region. Great journalism in print and on-line will continue to be our legacy. We must seize the future; it is within our grasp.

I look forward to working with all of you to secure a great future.

Thank you,

Jim

Source LAObserved

Callous Treatment

The Writerly Pause at Al's last month.

When we were at Al's he said, "I write whatever I want to write about."
And of course, he could be trusted to do this. His career has spanned over fifty years, starting at the Oakland Tribune with an editor named Al Reck. He's worked every desk --from local news, national and international affairs. He garnered a Pulitzer along the way, helped multitudes of readers understand the intricacies of what was going on around them, and he helped at least one kid from the farmlands and rivers of the delta love good writing.

So he had the chops, this was a reporter who could be trusted with a biweekly column to "write about whatever he wanted."

It seems that with all the cutbacks, hard lines are being taken. If they can get it off the wire, then go ahead, cut that reporter. The weirdest example is the reporter outsourcing of city council and school board meetings to India by a Pasadena paper. Now school principals will be known as Headmasters, and for sure, children will be taken to school in putt-putts and pedi-cabs. We also know that if there's not an apparent tie-in with the selling of advertisements, such as fluff interviews with celebrities in the Calendar, then it can be cut too.

This is in contrast to the late Jack Smith in his final years. It was a long hard slog to read about his health problems. But each day he'd get up and pound out words. If you don't know, I will tell you now: stringing words together is what keeps a writer alive. Though the Times could've booted him out, they didn't. They kept Jack on staff, after all he was a part of the institution.

They also knew this: Jack Smith had fans. People who subscribed to the paper out of loyalty, not only for him, but because the LA Times stood as a point of civic pride. There were people who got the paper and the first thing they did was look for Jack's column.

It's the same with Al Martinez. He has a fan base too. He represents the Times when it was a great paper. Whether you want to think of it as a point of civic pride or just nostalgia, people
like me keep our subscription even though it's painful to see this paper being treated as though it were an entrant in a demolition derby.

Frankly I can't believe that getting rid of a biweekly columnist like Al is going to make a huge dent in their bottom line. No, he got swept in with some quota that said, "X number of jobs must go." And so I think with moves like this, it becomes apparent that the paper is entrenched in the same track as the rest of society: more information, but far less critical thinking.

So who is next? Dana Parsons? Steve Lopez? Chris Erskine? Maybe they're too much to pay as
well. Maybe they're going to make the trek up to the Flathead Beacon and do fishing reports, snow tire comparisons, nature stories and yeah --hard news. At least they'd know the bottom line are two wealthy off-beat journalists named Maury and Connie. As opposed to Sam Zell, who is simply wealthy.

Now that I know I'll never be selected to be designated to take over Al's column (and I'd of done a good job), maybe I'll start learning about fish.

Tribune Employees Talk: No one will get pushed out the door at SF Chronicle

No one will get pushed out the door at SF Chronicle

Buyouts are layoffs with money thrown in to make the exit out the door a little less painful. Where the staff is represented by the Guild, both are subject to negotiations with the union to ensure the reduction in force is carried out fairly if layoff alternatives can't be achieved.

Following a lengthy negotiating session yesterday at the San Francisco Chronicle over the terms of buyouts there, union negotiators obtained assurances that no one will be coerced or forced into accepting a buyout.

But at The Los Angeles Times, a respected long-term columnist without union representation is being forced out the door.

Where's the fairness there?

Take Back the Times: Al Martinez Forced To Retire By Jackass Tribune Co.

Al Martinez Forced To Retire By Jackass Tribune Co.

Martinez, in the newspaper business since 1952, will have his last column in the Times June 1.

He has long been one of the most popular Times columnists. In his 70s, he continues to have legions of admirers. He will certainly be missed.

A vile plot continues to be mounted at the Chicago headquarters of the Tribune Co. to denigrate the Times as a newspaper, to slam California and to treat Los Angeles as it is were a smaller city than Chicago. For shame! These cursed sons-of-bitches can't hold a candle to the quality of the career of Al Martinez or so many other Times men and women forced into the buyout.

Easy-Writer: Kanani: From the close up to the wide shot


Easy-Writer: From the close up to the wide shot
No hero-ending for this story.
From the whales, to Arnold, Jerry, the EPA and back again.

Thursday Morning News

David Hiller publisher of the Los Angeles Times with Robert Bagwell, who plans to celebrate sixty years at the Times on August 4th, 2007. Bob had a change of heart and decided not to take the buyout this year. Mr. Bagwell started his Times career in the pressroom in 1947 and now works in Edition Planning.

Mort Zuckerman is swinging the ax again - New York Post
Sentinel Kills Local Film Reviews - The Daily Pulp
Dow Jones OppositionTo Murdoch Bid - Wall Street Journal
Maury Povich launches Daily Online Paper - New West
More Gas Price Hike Fallout: The Good News - Curbed LA
Trib's troubles: 54 newsroom staffers want buyout - Chicago Sun
Newsstands: a dying breed - Chicago Business

LOS ANGELES CITY NERD: Zell to sell the Times?

Zell to sell the Times?

Rumor has is that the Zell interests are looking at the Tribune properties in Los Angeles to assess their potential value. So, when we mean sell the times, we actually mean the property on which it currently sits. With the recent sale of the Valley's Times facility, a sale of Tribune-owned property would not be too much of a shock to the City, but it would show a lack of commitment to Los Angeles after over a century of growing with and shaping Los Angeles.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

3.9 Earthquake Near Devore

Did you feel the two earthquakes a few minutes ago? Click here for the details on the first earthquake (3.8) and here for the 3.9 aftershock. Located two miles southeast of Devore.

Al Martinez Forced Out at Los Angeles Times

I read with much sadness on LAObserved that Al Martinez was opting for the buyout at the Los Angeles Times, after working for the newspaper almost thirty-five years. He will be sorely missed by Times staffers as well as the readers of his column, let’s hope he starts his own blog down the road.

Several of my colleagues’ complained that the writers at the Times never spoke up as our department was reduced by downsizing over the past fifteen years, which only showed they did not read Al’s columns. Al wrote many articles on the life of blue-collar workers, and how downsizing throughout the United States was shrinking the middle class.

Kanani Fong and her group of writers met Al just a few weeks back, and they all loved him. I have to admit, he’s one of the few writers at the Los Angeles Times that respond to emails, and that sure makes me feel special about him.

Here’s Al Martinez’ farewell email from LAObserved:


From: Martinez, Al
Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2007 5:19 PM
To: yyeditallSubject: buyout

To all : I dislike rumors and so I take these means to tell you all that I am a victim of the buyout/layoff frenzy. My final column for a newspaper I have worked for since 1972, in a business I have been a part of since 1952, winning more awards and honors than would ever fit on my wall, will be Friday, June 1st. I always thought that I would be the one to decide when it was time to walk away, when my prose faltered and my thinking blurred. But that's not the way it works anymore with the owners we have in the climate that exists. Too bad. I think I deserved a better way of ending such a long and honorable career.

Showing Ill Effects of Fresh Water



Easy-Writer: Whales Showing Ill Effects of Fresh Water
(note this is the region where yours truly grew up)

"
The pair continued today to exhibit tail slapping that started Tuesday. Although biologists commonly consider such action a sign a stress, Cordaro said it is difficult to assess exactly why the pair is doing that." From the Los Angeles Times

Both images are from the Sacramento Bee. The first one shows the tail slapping behavior. This is all very sad. I hope for a good outcome. But I do wonder --the whales moved on there own Sunday night when there was no noise. I can only wonder if that floatilla quit banging pipes if the whales might find their orientation and start again. I just don't know. No one does. I'm sure they've thought of it, too.


Blogdowntown Picnic this Sunday

Eric Richardson of Blogdowntown is hosting a picnic this Sunday (May 27th,2007) at Elysian Fields picnic area, in Elysian Park. The event is co-hosted by David Bullock and Ed Fuentes, and should prove to be fun, I'll be there, will you?

For additional information and directions visit Blogdowntown.

Lauren Padgett on 93.1 Jack FM Radio

My daughter Lauren is famous today, she's an ordinary listener of Jack FM 93.1, and was broadcast on the morning show. Way to go Lauren. XOXOXO Dad

Buyouts at a Newspaper Near You


Just sixteen months ago the Los Angeles Times closed the Chatsworth Production Facility, and here we are again today, announcing which employees will be granted the latest buyout package. Historically, everyone that submitted the paperwork with the intention of leaving the newspaper was allowed to leave. And this round of buyouts will no likely be similar; everyone will be allowed to leave.

As circulation and advertising at the newspaper continue the downward trend, it’s only a matter of time before the Los Angeles Times Orange County Facility is closed. The employees at the Olympic Facility are constantly reminded that we cannot produce the entire newspaper without the aid of the Orange County Facility, yet no one believes much of this chatter.

Two different vendors have mentioned the closing of the Orange County Facility, within the next eight to twenty months, and unfortunately, I believe them. Let’s hope this isn’t true, but just incase, I have cancelled my membership to LA Fitness, dropped my cell phone to the lowest possible service plan, and have not visited a comedy club in over a month.

The next round of downsizing may come knocking at my door, so I must be prepared.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Easy-Writer: Kanani: Mama and Baby Head Back To Salt Water

Easy-Writer: Mama and Baby Head Back To Salt Water

Newspaper News


Buyback Binge - Forbes

Services in memory of Frances C Hathaway

Pressman, Jimmy Hathaway and his Sister Dorie Garcia (pictured), have lost their mother Frances Hathaway. The Pressroom extends it's heartfelt sympathy at this time of their loss.

Services in memory of Frances C Hathaway

Viewing
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
6:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Rose Hills Mortuary
Enter Park through Gate 1

Service

Thursday, May 24, 2007 at 1:00 PM
(Please plan to arrive a few minutes early.)
Service: Funeral Service
Location: Rose Hills Memorial Park
Hillside Chapel - Enter Park through Gate 17
3888 Workman Mill Rd Driving Directions (courtesy of MapQuest)
Whittier, CA, 90601
Concludes: Concludes At Interment Site
Interment : Daybreak Terrace - Enter Park through Gate 1
Lot : 2816
Grave: 4

Just use cash --waitress steals debit card numbers


Waitress steals debit/credit card numbers

Lately, I've been using my debit card more and more.
I suppose it's okay for places like the grocery store, where it never leaves my hand (or maybe not). But in restaurants there's that missing fifteen minutes --you don't know how many hands that card passes through.

A waitress at HAMBURGER HAMLET was offered $10 per card number. Someone gave her a card reader to record the numbers. She'd give the customers the bill, they'd hand over the card. She'd take the card into the bathroom and collect the number. So far the total is up to $16k.

So here's the deal. I guess we all just have to go to the bank once a week, withdraw cash, and use it. It's not so bad. Cash flow will be contained, and there's no downloading weird bits of info from vendors onto your Quicken.

Many years ago, in the days of those paper credit card slips, a medical biller at a doctor's office used my card to pay for her dentistry. She was arrested and charged. But the kicker is.... SHE WASN'T FIRED. And that's why I quit going to that doctor. I thought that was so lame and insulting, even though I was the one who alerted them as to this issue.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Greetings from New Orleans


It's been about 8-10 years since my last visit here. A colleague and I just took off and spent a week down here for the heck of it and it was worth it. Now we're both here on business this time. She hasn't arrived yet, but I expect her to show up at any moment. We'll hit some of the spots we hit back in the day. But for now, I'll be headed across the street for the casino.

Oops! Phone...it's Cynthia. She just arrived, got my message, is in her room now and wants to go have a cocktail.

STAY POSITIVE FOLKS!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Love is Bliss

This 80 year old woman was arrested for shop lifting.
When she went before the judge in Cincinnati he asked her, "What did you steal?" She replied, "A can of peaches."
The judge then asked her why she had stolen the can of peaches and she replied that she was hungry.
The judge then asked her how many peaches were in the can. She replied 6.
The judge then said, "I will then give you 6 days in jail."
Before the judge could actually pronounce the punishment, the woman's husband spoke up and asked the judge if he could say something.
The judge said, "What is it?"The husband said, "She also stole a can of peas."
.
Submitted by Gayle Mitchell

Save Our Trade: Fools Rush In

Fools Rush In

By Dave Rascon

"We have a long road ahead of us and it’s important that we have patience. It is equally important that we explore every possible way to reach a contract that’s good for the employees and good for our newspaper. This process is going to take time. There is still a small group of employees who wish to campaign against the union, and I say its time wasted. Since Jan. 6th. 2007 we have moved on and can’t keep on addressing things that do not matter at this point. Rumors are just unverified reports and mis-information that cloud the facts."

[snip]

"It’s has also been brought to my attention that our pressroom manager has made some demands of press operators, press crews, and reel room coordinators, and not to mention our service shops, whereas in making these demands he continually uses poor judgment in the way he speaks with employees. Please do not be insubordinate and just do what he asks, we will deal with these issues at an appropriate time. After all John Walker is just being himself. His career has been plagued with big mistakes not only at the Times but at other newspapers."

David's complete letter can be accessed by clicking on the title of this post or clicking on the blue underlined link.

The Passing of Another Pressman

Yesterday an email arrived with information on retired pressroom supervisor Richard Meinhardt’s passing. The message arrived in a roundabout way; it went through Rob Barrett and Mark Banuelos from the Square before arriving in my in-box. I really appreciate the two men not just ignoring the message, but taking the steps to locate someone in the pressroom, thank you both.


Richard Meinhardt was a very easy going person, and was a pleasure to work for, never got too excited over the little things, and will be missed by all he touched. The following email from Richard's daughter is what I received.

From: M J Lull [mailto:mjlull@verizon.net]
Sent: Thu 5/17/2007 3:17 PM
To: rob.barrett@latimes.com
Subject: Retired Employee

Mr. Barrett
My name is Maureen Lull, my step dad, Richard Meinhardt, worked in the press room for the LA Times for 35+ years – retiring several years back. He recently passed away and we have been trying to find out if there is any type of notification appropriate to be made to the Times for the benefit of keeping in touch with retired employees….. The answering system and barely audible hoarse voice that answers at the 5000 number has been ineffective in answering our questions.

If there is such an association – could you please let us know how they can be contacted – it too late at this point to notify them of the services but it might be possible just to notify of the death.

Thank you
MJLull

Richard & Moreen Meinhardt
5515 Chia Ave.
Twentynine Palms,Ca.92277

UPDATE: FYI the 29 Palms address is no longer valid. Condolences may be sent to: 14 Westport , Manhattan Beach , CA 90266

Save Our Trade: No Pressroom Buy-Outs Update

No Pressroom Buy-Outs Update

By Ronnie Pineda

"I telephoned GCC/IBT International President George Tedeschi this morning (Fri) to seek his assistance in informing Tribune of pressroom members who expressed an interest in participating in the current buy-outs, and to also inquire as to the possibility of allowing our brothers and/or sisters to apply for consideration in the current buy-outs.

President Tedeschi agreed to make inquiries and inform me of his findings."

Click on the title or the blue underlined link for President Tedeschi's statement.

Tribune Employees Talk: Guild at The Baltimore Sun launches SaveYourSun.org

Guild at The Baltimore Sun launches SaveYourSun.org

The site – parts of which are still being developed — will be a resource for gathering and disseminating information concerning all aspects of Tribune operations for members and the public:

With the Guild and Tribune Co. management working together, things can change. 
What we must do in order to remedy the effects of the Tribune Co.’s most recent dramatic and unnecessary changes:


• Focus on quality

• Stop cutting and invest in the people and the paper

• Build a better Web site with Guild reporters and photographers

• Attract and retain the best talent

• Invest in circulation

Friday, May 18, 2007

Here's one for Ed

Lemonette explains Automoblogging



(I love Lemonette. She's a 52 year old grandma from the south who videoblogs on You Tube)

Media News


Pressman Injuried in Accident


Jose Gomez, Orange County Pressroom Supervisor, was rear ended while riding his motorcycle home from work the other night, both of his ankles were broken and he was skinned-up pretty good but luckily no major injuries. He's at Western Medical Center in Santa Ana, room 412 (714-953-3500), I spoke to him on the phone and he's in good spirit and said he's in no pain. - Bob Lampher

Take Back the Times: L.A. Times Has Grown Uneven; Buyouts Are Hurting

L.A. Times Has Grown Uneven; Buyouts Are Hurting

The buyouts, the cost cutbacks at the Los Angeles Times are having their effect. The paper can put together great stories, but some bad spots are creeping in. And when you take a look at those planning to take the latest buyout, you shudder. Put them together with several eminent writers and editors who have taken other jobs, and the effect is definitely bad.

Tribune Employees Talk: San Francisco Guild offers plan to soften blow of proposed job cuts

San Francisco Guild offers plan to soften blow of proposed job cuts

The San Francisco Chronicle told the Guild Thursday that it intends to cut 80 newsroom Guild-covered jobs and 20 management positions. The union reports it "has proposed a plan to achieve the target number of job reductions through voluntary buyouts and retirement incentatives."

Easy-Writer: Kanani: Hammered

Easy-Writer: Hammered
This is about really stupid people who don't recognize the lasting impact on their own legacy when they say mean things.

A pox on them!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Foothill Cities Blog and Free Speech

As I read my San Gabriel Valley Tribune tonight I was pleasantly surprised to read about a local blog that has gained national attention, The Foothill Cities Blog. This blog writes about politics, restaurants, and events from Pasadena to Claremont by two anonymous bloggers, Publius and Centinel.

Seems Foothill Cities attracted the attention of Pomona City Hall regarding the departure of City Manager Doug Dunlap, and anonymous comments. Pomona City Attorney Arnold Alvarez-Glasman sent the blog an email, using city stationary, to cease and desist further false information regarding the City of Pomona.

And the Blogosphere has reacted in a positive way concerning free speech.

What Are The Objections?

After winning the union election at the Los Angeles Times the company filed five objections with the NLRB, and a ruling in favor of the employees was handed down on March 16th, 2007. The company filed an appeal with the Washington D.C. NLRB in March, 2007 and everyone awaits the outcome. Below are the objections to the election, and to view the complete report click on the title of this post.

Objection No. 1

During scheduled voting time and in the polling area, a Union Observer engaged in objectionable conduct by campaigning on behalf of the Union, contrary to Board rules and regulations, and contrary to the explicit instructions of the Board Agent conducting the election. Such conduct interfered with, coerced, and restrained employees in the exercise of their Section 7 rights, and interfered with their ability to make a free and reasoned choice in the election.

Objection No. 2

During scheduled voting time, a Union Observer engaged in objectionable conduct by communicating with eligible voters while he was assigned by the Board Agent to walk through the workplace with a sign that informed voters that the polls were open and that they were free to vote, and by continuing to communicate with eligible voters in the immediate vicinity of the polling place at a time after he was supposed to return to the polling place to perform his responsibilities as an Observer. Such conduct violated the explicit instructions of the Board Agent who was conducting the election, it conveyed the impression that the Union Observers were not subject to the rules that otherwise applied to the Employer Observers and it created the impression that, during the voting, the Union Observer was giving to Union supporters information about the employees who voted and the events occurring in the polling area that the Union Observer had no right to convey, thereby interfering with, coercing, and restraining employees in the exercise of their Section 7 rights, and interfering with their ability to make a free and reasoned choice in the election.

Objections Nos. 1 and 2 will be considered together, inasmuch as they involve like or related conduct.

Objection No. 3

On or about December 27, 2006, two self-identified Union supporters and agents threatened a bargaining unit employee who was wearing a hat that contained the words, "Vote No." Among other things, one or both of these Union supporters, on behalf of the Union, said that the bargaining unit employee was "sending mixed messages" by wearing the hat, and said that "In L.A., sending mixed messages can be dangerous." These statements made the employee think of reports he had heard that in previous campaigns by the Union and its predecessors, the cars of bargaining unit employees who supported the "Vote No" option at the Employer's Olympic (or "LA") pressroom had been vandalized. The bargaining unit employee therefore understood the statements to constitute threats that his new vehicle would be vandalized if he continued to wear the "Vote No" hat, or if he otherwise sent "mixed messages" that he supported the "Vote No" option in the election. Such conduct interfered with, coerced, and restrained employees in the exercise of their Section 7 rights, and interfered with their ability to exercise a free and reasoned choice in the election.

Objection No. 4

On January 25, 2007, the Employer, with the Regional Director’s approval, withdrew Objection
No. 4.

Objection No. 5

The Union and its predecessors have filed a series of Representation Cases in which they have attempted to represent the Employer's pressroom employees, but the employees historically have rejected the Union's attempts, in most cases by wide margins. During this campaign, Union agents on more than one occasion told bargaining unit employees that, "We know we are going to lose again, but you should vote for the Union just to make the results close and to send a message to the [Employer]." Such conduct interfered with, coerced, and restrained employees in the exercise of their Section 7 rights, and interfered with their ability to exercise a free and reasoned choice in the election. As a result, a number of bargaining unit employees have expressed a strong desire that the Board hold another election that is free of such coercive, misleading statements and conduct as alleged herein, and in which all employees can vote their true preferences without such interference.

Conclusion

Having made the above findings and conclusions, viewing the alleged conduct individually and cumulatively, and upon the record as a whole, I recommend that Employer’s Objections Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 5 be overruled in their entirety. Based upon my recommendation that Objections Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 5 be overruled, I further recommend that the Petitioner should be certified as the
collective-bargaining representative of the unit employees.

DATED at Los Angeles, California, this 16th day of March, 2007.

Jessica A. Toton
Hearing Officer
NLRB, Region 21