Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tribune Press Release

Steve Charlier Named SVP/News and Operations for Tribune and Local TV LLC Stations

Despite its power to inform and connect people across cultures and time zones, the Internet all too often discourages, or coarsens, a healthy civic discussion.

CHICAGO, July 31, 2008 -- Steve Charlier has been appointed senior vice president/news and operations for Tribune Broadcasting and Local TV LLC, responsible for overseeing all news production and news operations for the station groups of both companies. The appointment is effective immediately.

"Steve is one of the most creative and innovative people in local TV news today," said Ed Wilson, Tribune Broadcasting president. "Between Tribune and Local TV, we’re aggressively expanding local news programming in 15 markets -- tomorrow, for example, we’ll launch a four-hour morning show at our station in San Diego which will be unlike anything currently on TV. Steve has been extremely important in leading our efforts."

Prior to joining Tribune, Charlier held several jobs of increasing responsibility at Local TV stations in Phoenix, Seattle, and Salt Lake City. In 2005, he was named vice president/news director of KOVR-TV and KMAX-TV in Sacramento, where he developed the first-of-its-kind early morning interactive news broadcast based largely on content from the Internet.

"I’m really not interested in doing traditional TV news," said Charlier. "Audiences are demanding more from local broadcasters -- more breaking news, more context to help them understand what they’re seeing on the screen, and more creativity in the way the news is presented. We have to be willing to take some risks and do things differently."

Tribune Press Release

Tribune Promotes Key Broadcasting Executives

Schonbak to Oversee Fox Affiliates

Berlamino Appointed President of WPIX-TV

Graziano Named Senior Vice President

CHICAGO, July 31, 2008 -- Tribune Broadcasting today announced the promotion of several key executives in its broadcasting division and the reorganization of three East Coast television stations.

Ray Schonbak has been promoted to executive vice president and will begin overseeing the company’s FOX television affiliates in San Diego, Seattle, Sacramento, Indianapolis, Grand Rapids and Harrisburg, Pa., as well as the company’s CW affiliate in Portland. Betty Ellen Berlamino, vice president/general manager of WPIX-TV in New York City, has been named president of the station. Richard Graziano, vice president/general manager of Tribune’s two-station cluster in Hartford, Conn., becomes senior vice president and will take on oversight responsibilities for the company’s stations in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. The promotions are effective immediately.

"Ray, Betty Ellen and Rich are proven leaders with long track records of success," said Ed Wilson, Tribune Broadcasting president. "These moves allow us to improve the speed of decision-making and overall cooperation and communication across our television group -- these people know their local markets better than anyone."

Schonbak joined Tribune in March as vice president/general manager of KSWB-TV in San Diego. Under his leadership and direction, the station will launch a weekday four-hour morning news show and a weeknight hourly newscast beginning Friday, August 1.

"By bringing our Fox affiliates together as a group, we can capitalize on the strength and resources of the country’s No. 1 television network," said Schonbak. "Fox stations are known for strong local news and sports coverage -- this arrangement allows us to better coordinate the sharing of news and sports content, graphics, and innovative programming in order to ensure future growth and success."

Promoting Berlamino and expanding Graziano’s responsibilities is designed to maximize the collaboration between Tribune’s East Coast affiliates; the stations are located within a few hundred miles of each other. Berlamino has been vice president/general manager of WPIX since 2000. Graziano has served as vice president/general manager of WTIC-TV and WTXX-TV in Hartford, since 2005.

Berlamino, Schonbak, and Graziano will report directly to Wilson, as will the general managers at the company’s television stations in Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami. Tribune’s stations in Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, Denver and St. Louis will continue reporting to John Vitanovec, executive vice president/Tribune Broadcasting.

Thursday Afternoon Links

Zell Hell bumper stickers showing up in oddest places

California judge rules early cell phone termination fees illegal

Interesting, but appeals by the carriers are sure to last a lifetime!

LA Times Wildfires Commercial

Here is the 20 second version of my content promotion commercials for the LA Times-- now with voice over! Look for this template as well, highlighting different features each week on KTLA. Created with After Effects.

HOLY CRAP...Tissue Issues!!!

It seems the LA Times Oly Plant isn't the only organization stooping to new fiscal lows by replacing half-quality bathroom tissue with the no-quality kind. My organization has jumped on the bandwagon as well, much to the chagrin of the its' female population.

After ROUGHLY two weeks of tolerance, many were compelled to lodge their complaints to the Facilities Administrator and Custodial Supervisor. My complaint reads as follows:

Good morning, Gentlemen,

On behalf of the ladies in my office (and perhaps a few hundred others on the Civic Center Campus), I am sending a formal complaint about the quality of bathroom tissue we are now being subjected to. The 2-ply tissue we had before wasn’t exactly the best quality, but now we’re downgraded to a 1-ply that’s about as absorbent as air and as abrasive as steel wool. This is punishment! Not to mention having to use 4x the amount used previously in one sitting. Pun intended!

Come on, guys…REALLY! Is the City in such bad fiscal constraints that we have to resort to this? Are you trying to force employees to bring their own tissue to cut the provision altogether and save $$? Give us a break and stop WIPING us the wrong way!

Feel free to pass this along to the Public Works Director and/or the City Manager, if the decision isn’t yours to make, but PLEASE don’t ignore!


Stay tuned.

Response received:

Hi _____,

As part of the City’s conscientious efforts to go greener, we are using only toilet paper that is “recycled.” You may have noticed that the new toilet paper is made from recycled roofing paper, discarded automotive parts, and old carpeting. Because those three categories of discarded products do not decompose well in landfills, recycling them into a toilet paper product is the responsible and “earth-friendly” way to go.

Okay.. I’ll be serious now… I know that we just sent back a whole truckload that was unsuitable for employee use and I thought we had taken care of the issue. We’ll look at this to see what we need to do.


This guy should audition for SNL! Wish they could’ve stuffed a few more rolls in that truck, though. The leftovers are still making their way to our powder room (if you can call it that)!

Update: Mission accomplished!

You should have the “squeezably soft tissue” in there tomorrow…


News-Press publisher steps down

Man who ran the Times Community News division for 17 years cites new company direction.
By Jason Wells

GLENDALE — Tom Johnson, general manager of the Times Community News division, announced his resignation this week little more than two months after assuming the role of publisher of the Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader, Crescenta Valley Sun and La CaƱada Valley Sun.

Johnson said he made the decision to resign last Friday in response to the new direction of the community news division he’s worked for and helped lead for the last 17 years. His resignation was announced in a staff memo on Tuesday at the same time the Los Angeles Times continued with additional rounds of staff cuts.

“You either go in a different direction you don’t believe in, or you go and remember the good things you did and how it showed,” said Johnson, who added he that had no intention of retiring, but had not yet decided on his next move.

In a staff meeting on Wednesday with the newsrooms of all four area papers, John O’Loughlin, president of the Los Angeles Times’ Targeted Media Division, assured employees that the community news division — which includes three other papers in Orange County — was an important part of the company’s portfolio.

Click on title to read more.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mid-Week News Links

Tell Zell bumper stickers discovered in the Times Olympic Pressroom

L.A. Times Editor Gives Pep Talk to Staff

From: Stanton, Russ
Sent: Wednesday, July 30, 2008 3:15 PM
Subject: Newsroom update


A few weeks ago, we announced that we would be losing 150 of our newsroom colleagues and reducing the number of pages we printed by 15%. The announced layoffs are now concluded, and we are losing fewer colleagues (135) and fewer pages (14%) than initially forecast. The process has been painful, and we've had to say goodbye to too many good friends and co-workers.

Our challenge now is to focus on the tasks at hand -- to break stories online and in the paper and continue putting resources toward the in-depth investigative reports that we're known for. This week, we have magnificent examples of both: Within hours, more than 300,000 readers turned to us for information about the quake. And the excellent Wildfire series is a great reminder of what we're capable of -- wonderful storytelling, brilliant documentary photography, video and graphics, and dazzling design, in print and online.

In addition to the Olympics and the political conventions, in the coming weeks we'll be delivering a terrific series of projects on the drug war on the California-Mexico border, a look at wealth in Southern California, the region's broken healthcare system, the issue of race in the presidential campaign and corruption in China. And today, senior print and Web editors met to start planning the integration of the two newsrooms, a move we hope to complete by the end of September. Your exemplary work shows why the Los Angeles Times remains a vibrant and integral part of both Southern California and the nation. By doing what we do best -- providing our readers with first-rate news, analysis and features -- we will ensure that they have access to the information they have come to expect from us.

Even at our smaller size, we are running at least 10% more pages than the New York Times and at least 25% more than the Wall Street Journal, two outstanding papers. In addition to the Wildfire series and the biggest local report anywhere in the country, this week we've also brought you news and features from China, Cuba, El Salvador, Iraq, Israel, Kenya, Macao, Mexico, Pakistan, Serbia, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and, yes, even Olathe, Kan. And it's only Wednesday. Only two other daily papers in America even attempt this kind of reporting any more, and neither is within 2,500 miles of here.

While we may be fewer in number, we must not be diminished in spirit or sense of purpose. In the coming weeks, the senior editing team and I will be meeting with you in small groups to talk about how we move forward. It is your passion and your commitment to this news organization and to one another that will keep us moving in the right direction. The Los Angeles Times and our readers deserve nothing less.

Russ Stanton
Los Angeles Times

SOURCE: Kevin Roderick

Couple Chat with Los Angeles Times Circulation

Romanian couple has a three-way phone chat with Los Angeles Times telemarketer regarding their reasons for not subscribing or reading the Los Angeles Times. This audio file is a must hear for the men that run the Tribune Company, left scratching their heads as subscribers leave all Tribune Newspapers in droves.

Special thanks go to John and Ken at Radio KFI 640AM Los Angeles for sharing the audio file with us. If I am forced to remove the file I have been instructed to notify them immediately.

The file is currently processing and will play within the next few minutes.

Hump Day Chuckle

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tuesday Afternoon News

Security Alert At Times Olympic Facility

I was informed this morning that our plant manager, Greg Malcolm, has placed L.A. Times Security on a heightened state of alert. This alert has nothing to do with terrorist, or employees committing sabotage, the alert is for banners being draped from the southeast side of the building.

The southeast side of the building faces the Santa Monica Freeway, which would give a message to many commuters that things are not cozy at the newspaper, never mind the two inches of dirt that have collected on the side of the building.

Don’t worry Greg, no one plans to place a banner on the side of the building, that I know of.

Tribune Press Release

Tribune Names Marty Wilke Interim General Manager at WGN-TV

Sales Executive Has Strong Ties to Chicago and Station

Ehlmann Resigns for Personal Reasons

CHICAGO, July 29, 2008 -- Tribune Company today announced the appointment of Marty Wilke as interim general manager of Chicago’s WGN-TV, effective immediately. Wilke replaces Tom Ehlmann who resigned for personal reasons. Wilke has served as the station’s director of sales since 2002.

"As general manager for more than four years, Tom led WGN-TV to unprecedented heights as the No. 1 station in the Chicago market. Marty is the right person to step in and keep the momentum going, along with the support and strength of the station’s department heads," said Ed Wilson, president of Tribune Broadcasting. "We’ll continue moving forward with our plans to expand local news and develop additional local programming. Marty is incredibly talented, has a wealth of experience and strong relationships throughout Chicago."

Prior to becoming director of sales, Wilke served as local sales manager for WGN-TV.

"I’ve always been proud to be a part of the WGN-TV family. The wealth of history and knowledge of our staff will make this a quick and smooth transition -- these folks are the best in the city," said Wilke. "I’m excited to step in and lead the station, especially as we’re launching a 5:30 p.m. half-hour newscast show in September."

Wilke, a native of Downers Grove, Ill., is a member of the Broadcast Advertising Club of Chicago.

Earthquake Predicted by NOT the LA Times Blog

Yes it's true, Roy Rivenburg the Blogger at NOT the Los Angeles Times, predicted this mornings 5.4 earthquake.

Hey Roy, how much longer will the pressroom be blessed with our three Tribune Bosses?

Earthquake in the Pressroom - Not Fun at All

As my crew members and I cleaned the printing press the earthquake rolled in, and for a moment we really didn’t know what was happening, until one of the men yelled out “EARTHQUAKE”.

The feeling of running to the safety of the outdoors was subdued as we stood in place looking at one another till the shaking passed. The super-structure of the printing presses is made from steel beams and steel floor plates, which magnified the sound as the floor plates jumped up and down during the wave of earth movement.

Paper dust that had collected in the ceiling panels over the last twenty years was raining down as well as the metal bells that cover the fire sprinklers, making running from the building a poor choice at the time.

What seemed like an eternity of forty seconds was but twenty seconds, as my perception of time became skewed during this stressful moment.

Just before the earthquake ceased I sent a txt message to Twitter, which somehow made it through, but after the quake ended my cell acted as if it were turned off.

After the earthquake we exited the building to the parking area, as we have been instructed, and tried in vain to contact our loved ones.

For you folks that have not experienced an earthquake, let me tell you, it’s not something I would recommend trying, because you are absolutely helpless.

Security Cameras Capture the Chino Hills Quake

Video of the Chino Hills quake from Incycle Bicycles in San Dimas.

Video's via LAist's Zach Behrens

Los Angeles Hit by 5.8 Earthquake

A large earthquake hit Los Angeles at 11:42 am, near Diamond Bar, which is 25 miles east of Los Angeles. All cell phone networks down at the moment, unable to reach our families as we wait for cells to go back online.

Click on title for updates from the Los Angeles Times

Monday, July 28, 2008

More DownZelling at The Los Angeles Times

We lost eight more colleagues this afternoon at the Los Angeles Times, just read this story from Kevin Roderick.

Here’s the list from Patterico:
Tim Cavanaugh
Amina Khan
Gary Spiecker
Diedre Ware
Nico Smedley
Sonni Efron
Jim Newton
Swati Pandey

I find it especially sad after interacting with many of the departed or soon to leave the newspaper. Nico Smedley pointed out my error regarding a pool table at Times Mirror Square, and was in charge of us volunteer drivers at the Festival of Books. Very pleasant young man that I will miss.

The editorial department is not alone in losing staff, I have been told the Internet Technology Department at the Los Angeles Times will layoff between ten and twenty of their ninety-four person staff.

And rumors of the Orange County Production Facility closing have been growing with intensity the past few weeks. The rumors could be blamed on the Ad-Op Department, and the Advertising Department vacating the Los Angeles Times Costa Mesa Facility to Times Mirror Square. Just makes workers question the direction the Costa Mesa facility is taking?

I’m certain our production managers at the Times will run another rumor control message, to my colleagues, regarding how misinformed the Blogging Pressman might be.

Yet the pressroom has not decertified the union, as I have been told would be done in June of this year. Fairly easy to see whom my colleagues believe, and it isn't our Tribune Bosses.

The Orlando Sentinel is 1 month old

Since becoming an asset of billionaire, Sam Zell, a lot of things have changed at the Orlando Sentinel. One of changes most obvious to the public is the redesign that debuted on June 23, 2008. In honor of its birth, I decided to see what people thought of it.

Now, I'm not the kind of person that makes fun of newborns, but the reactions to this one were somewhere between apathy and annoyance. Some feelings toward the new paper that declined to appear on screen were: "I cancelled my subscription!" (accompanied by a thumbs down) and "It's hard to find anything in the paper, things that used to be on the front page are now all over the place."

The Amazing Shrinking Orlando Sentinel

Tell Zell: Even God Rests on Sundays

But not Sam Zell and his firing machine. The Zellions called Morning Call editorial staff at home on Sunday to tell them that they were being laid off. One Zellion told the fired worker to be happy: they'd still get paid for Monday. Hooray!

The Retch has gotten a couple of unofficial and obviously in motion lists on staffers who have volunteered to be fired, or been fired the usual way. A compiled list of 24 staffers is after the jump. All normal caveats apply.

There's apparently still confusion about who has left, who is staying and who just got moved around like a carwash rag. Here's a brief description from one Morning Call worker on how it all went down.

The link below will take you to the article on Tell Zell

Tell Zell: Even God Rests on Sundays

Monday Morning News

From our collection of historic Los Angeles Times photographs

NOT the Los Angeles Times

With moral among Los Angeles Times Employees setting new record lows every week, we’re seeing an outcropping of blogs that are crying foul to further downzelling at Tribune Newspapers across the country. I’m certain Sam enjoys all the attention, positive or negative, regarding the changes occurring at his media empire. The chatter throughout the Blogosphere will have no impact on the further downzelling, but does make the employees feel better.

Last Friday we witnessed the draping of the Zell Hell banner from the Los Angeles Times Second Street parking structure, and today the launching of a spoof Los Angeles Times web page that will certainly bring a smile to many of my colleagues faces.

Take a look at NOT the Los Angeles Times

Hat Tip: Kevin Roderick

Lee Abrams' July 28 blog post


Things are in full motion for "re-launches" of our newspapers. As we get closer, things go under the microscope a little more and there are some thoughts and ideas worth sharing.

The most important overall though is probably that a re-launch isn't the end all. It's just the gutsy plunge/first step into the new century. The idea is to take the plunge, then go into a modern competitive mode to reclaim our ground by continually re-thinking, upgrading and getting into the fight on a daily basis in a way that marshals' together all of the things we do best and takes them to the streets in ways like never before. It's fascinating to see the outside pundits barking that we are "destroying great newspapers". Equally fascinating is how outsiders historically claimed imminent destruction of any institutions that forced change. Certainly saw it in TV as "CNN was destroying television news" or 'Jet Air Travel was destroying the inter city travel experience'. I never got the whole 'destroying' thing. If anyone destroys a product that is of value to the public, then someone should create something in its place...instead of whining about it. But then again, if something supposedly destroyed, grows to new levels of popularity, where does this 'destroy' thing come in?? And of course, here at Tribune, the idea is to re-invent some things that are on life support, or at least the writing is on the wall, so there's a FUTURE. A big one that engages America with the same intellect and passion that newspaper did 50 years ago...but on 2008 terms. The only thing we aim to destroy is the notion that you can't evolve, grow and succeed.

Interesting how as "dramatic" as some think our changes are, the Brits are highly suspicious, figuring we don't have the moxie to REALLY do something different. Here's a blog from the UK Guardian about the Chicago Tribune re-invent:

The Chicago Tribune is about to change. According to this report by Crain's, the staid broadsheet is testing out a four-section prototype. The first will be devoted to "consumer-oriented and entertainment features." Local, national, international and business news will appear in the second. Weather will lead off the third, which will include comics and classifieds. The fourth will be a tabloid sports section. It's uncertain whether these "dramatic changes" will emerge in practice.

But Juan Antonio Giner scoffs at the notion that such changes are dramatic. He writes: "What the Chicago Tribune is going to test has been done for decades by many European newspapers. The big difference is that they don't need sections, because they know that readers want 'compact' newspapers. And then you won't need this model that still exists in US newspapers, where sections put content into 'ghettos.'"

On the topic of the Chicago Tribune, the re-invent is in motion. A big part of it is to make sure the paper is in sync with 2008 Chicago.
A quote from Mike Royko to remind us when we get too elite:

"Chicago is not an articulate town, Saul Bellow notwithstanding. Maybe it's because so many of us aren't that far removed from parents and grandparents who only knew nits of the language". Royko '79

...Chicago is Metra, Cubs, Bears, Bulls, Hot Dogs, O'Hare, City with Big Shoulders and a South side team with a Jewish Owner, A Black GM, A Hispanic Manager and a Polish catcher….AND WTTW, University of Chicago, Charlie Trotter and amazing architecture. I think we gotta have the REAL 2008 Chicago...good, bad and ugly in mind as we move forward. A true melting pot. An exciting past, and exciting future and an exciting NOW.

If you care to continue reading, click here.

SOURCE: Jim Romenesko

Message From Russ Stanton Editor LA Times

Editor outlines changes in print version of The Times

The future of the Los Angeles Times, in print and online, rests in our ability to meet the needs of our readers and deliver news and information that is unique, far-reaching and indispensable. In-depth journalism remains our hallmark and we are committed to that mission in the face of economic challenges to our industry and our nation as a whole.

For proof, look no further than today’s front-page story on California’s war on wildfires, the first of a five-part series. It is news of vital importance to Southern Californians and it took a team of talented reporters, photographers and graphic journalists working on two continents to produce., which is increasingly becoming the destination of choice that busy readers turn to for breaking news coverage, also brings the series to multimedia life.

Our website just recorded its biggest month ever in June with 115 million page views, a 50% increase over last year. Readers flocked to our online coverage of the overturning of the ban on gay marriage and the Lakers playoff run, and to a new database honoring California residents who lost their lives in the line of duty during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They also embraced our new Olympics, Technology, Countdown to Crawford, and The Big Picture blogs.

On the print side, we’ll be focusing on perspective and analysis while still serving as a comprehensive daily news report. And we’re undertaking changes, some of which have already begun. Dan Neil’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Rumble Seat” car column, for example, has moved to a new home in Friday’s Business section. Next week, the Home section will move to Saturdays and will combine with Real Estate, bringing “Hot Property” and “Man of the House” together. And the paper’s Sunday Calendar line-up will now include a new Arts & Books section, combining the best of Arts & Music with Book Review (turn the page for a complete guide to the upcoming changes).

In the coming weeks, you can continue to look forward to more world-class coverage. At the Beijing Olympics, we'll have a team of more than a dozen reporters, editors, photographers, videographers and mobile bloggers detailing developments in the competition and in China itself. And our political team will be in Denver to cover the Democratic convention and in the Twin Cities to cover the Republicans as the major political parties take the next step in campaign 2008.

We are dedicated to covering these and other stories of importance to Southern Californians with the kind of journalism that The Times -- the largest news gathering organization west of the Mississippi River -- is uniquely able to deliver.

Russ Stanton, Editor

SOURCE: Tell Zell

Friday, July 25, 2008

End of the Week News

The Old World According to an Anonymous Writer for The Guide

Job Reductions at the Chicago Tribune

From: Gremillion, Bob
Sent: Fri 7/25/2008 1:06 PM
Subject: Staff Reductions

To Chicago Tribune Media Group staff --

I have been working with you for the better part of a month now, learning more about the CTMG and all the ways our businesses serve our customers and the community. The most important part of my job here now is making sure we are well-positioned for the future. A key part of that is the redesign of the Blue paper, and we are making great progress and remain on schedule to launch it by the end of September.

But our more difficult task involves responding to the unprecedented declines in revenue you heard Sam and Randy discuss on Tuesday. As a result, we are carefully examining our budgets, reviewing every expense item. I've been impressed by the discipline our departments already exercise. We've already announced newsroom staff reductions, but our dire economic situation requires us to implement further cuts elsewhere in the company. We've not yet determined the total scope of the reductions, but they will be involuntary.

Your department heads, working together and with me, are examining current staffing levels to determine what functions can be reduced, suspended, or eliminated. Affected employees will be notified by the end of August and would be eligible for benefits similar to those offered in the past:

An allocation will be made to affected employees' cash balance account equal to one week's pay for each consecutive period of six months of service, with a minimum of six weeks and maximum of 52 weeks. There will be a range of payout options from a lump sum to annuity payments.

Benefits continuation will be provided based on 1 week for each consecutive period of six months of completed service, with a minimum of 3 months and maximum of 52 weeks.

Outplacement assistance will be available.

This is undoubtedly the most challenging time in Tribune history. We must make painful decisions, and I deeply regret the impact this will have on those who will be leaving us. Ultimately, I want you to know that I believe in the great potential CTMG and Tribune Company have for the future, and I appreciate your support through this transition.


SOURCE: Tell Zell

Meredith Artley to LA Times Bloggers

From: Artley, Meredith
Sent: Friday, July 25, 2008 11:59 AM
Subject: Hubbub

Hi everyone. Many of you have probably seen the Slate item titled “LAT Gags Blogs” citing Tony’s note asking you all to steer clear of the alleged Edwards affair. It’s now linked to from Drudge, and Gawker has an item too.

In the spirit of transparency I want to give some background on this, and to note how in hindsight we might have done things differently to avoid the discontent that led to yet another public poke in the eye.

Various colleagues on the 3rd floor have been working on reporting the story. I made the decision that while we are working on verifying if this has any truth to it, we should stay away from joining the fray. We still don’t know that, and national and metro are still pursuing.

Our message to you (I asked Tony to drop you guys the note) should have been more nuanced. I should have first not encouraged posting on this topic, but if any of you feel that you have a post you really to write, to please discuss it with Tony and myself first since we must always tread carefully on unverified stories. And I should have explained the thinking behind that decision. The idea was not to muzzle any of you and then walk away – that is never a recipe for success.

Russ, myself, Tony and all the editors you work with trust you guys to engage us in open and frank dialogue on just about anything that’s on your mind, and we’ll do the same. You have our confidence and we expect the same. We have a strong network thanks to all of the thoughts that many of you have shared, creating better blogs, growing the readership, and staying focused on the work and not the drama. Let’s keep that up and settle for nothing less.

Questions, thoughts, etc? Ask me or Tony.

Meredith Artley
Executive Editor,

SOURCE: Kevin Roderick


Before the Man comes to take it down, hopefully some of you will have had the chance to see the three-story high headline on the side of the LA Times building this morning. A devoted fellow Retcher dropped a ginormous banner. It reads: Zell Hell: Take Back the Los Angeles Times.

Full story with additional photos at Tell Zell, now with video.

EXCLUSIVE: A former Soviet spymaster writes for the Sunday Herald

My warning to Britain: your democracy is under attack from Putin's KGB infiltrators
The late Alexander Litvinenko once spoke to me about Putin's strategic plan for damaging Western democracy and reducing it to the level of what passes for democracy in Russia. I believe that this plan is already being successfully accomplished. For proof, just look at how all Western leaders are today happy to close their eyes on Russia's deviation from democracy - by doing so they are taking the first steps toward ruining democracy in their own countries.
Russian agents have a stranglehold on the UK because Putin has modernised the Russian concept of intelligence. Now they are putting emphasis on the use of Russian emigrants and not on the use of leftist or liberal Western intellectuals, whom Lenin once cynically described as his "useful idiots". Though a lot of KGB officers still hark fondly back to the days of Stalinism, they would never dare to recruit a British intellectual today because they know that your intellectuals would believe that Russia has finished with Communism. That is not the case at all.
MI5 says that the number of Russian spies in the embassy and affiliated institutions is about 30, around the same number as it was in the Soviet times. In fact, it is much larger. In the Soviet period the number of vacancies for KGB and GRU agents in the Soviet embassies was strictly restricted by the Central Committee of the Communist Party. Today though, Russian intelligence does not suffer restrictions. The KGB's privileged position in Russia gives it unrestricted freedom to operate all over the world. British intelligence is deprived of such a privilege.
The number of Russian intelligence officers in the UK exceeds 30 people many times over. Litvinenko described to me a new KGB recruitment method in the UK. The Russian businessman is approached in the street with the suggestion that he become a spy. He, of course, declines. Then the agent says to him, with a sly smile: "Well then, we will put out a search for you on Interpol. We'll lie to them about you being a member of the Russian mafia. We'll see what happens to your business then!" The unfortunate businessman gives in. He already knows how pitilessly his colleagues are treated in Russia, and that Putin does, indeed, use Interpol in his fight with his political enemies.
Also, a lot of Russian spies are coming to the UK as clergymen after "the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia" was merged with the Kremlin-controlled Moscow Patriarchate in May 2007.
What should the UK do about all this? Increase their spy missions in Russia? I am afraid it is too late for that. People are already afraid to contact Britons or British institutions for fear of being accused of espionage. As the FSB (the successor to the KGB) now doesn't need to hamper itself with the search for proof, it is possible to declare anybody a British spy. Once that happens the person will go to prison for 15 years, as has already happened to Igor Sutyagin and many other Russian intellectuals. On the other hand, North Korean intelligence is allowed to work in Russia openly. They are friends. You, the British, are not.
It is better for the UK to get realistic, and rid itself of its illusions about Russian democracy. The UK must treat Russia as a non-democratic state; it must require the expulsion of Russia from the G8, with which Russia does not share any common values. The UK must also start expelling diplomats just as you did in Soviet times because Russia is now harking back to that era as well.
MI5 has complained of swarms of spies from Russia and China roaming around Britain. I suspect the two countries may be working together. As a former adviser on China to General Zaitsev, head of the KGB Scientific and Technical Intelligence, I have a strong feeling that the intelligence services of Russia and China have resumed their co-operation in spying on the West. The heads of Chinese intelligence and counter-intelligence visit Moscow every month. What for, I wonder?
In our long phone conversations, Litvinenko told me, with a smile in his voice, that Putin wanted to kill him. He knew that Putin was vindictive and did not forgive insults or those who gave away personal revelations about him. Litvinenko said he still had his sources and informants in Moscow. It was a claim that was to turn out fatal for him.
When I spoke on CNN a few days after Litvinenko's murder, the interviewer wondered: "Why are you sure it was Putin? Why not anybody else?"
It was a question put by a man who had been brought up in a democratic society, where the state's intelligence apparatus are civil bodies in which officers are allowed a degree of freedom in their political views. The KGB is a military body. It is a part of Russia's military bloc, and it is subordinate to the Supreme Commander of the Russian Army - former Comrade President Vladimir Putin. As such any uninvited intruder into the sphere of Putin's personal power can expect to be severely punished.
We should also note that Andrei Lugovoy, Litvinenko's alleged murderer, was promoted to the Russian parliament. What other proof of Putin's involvement does one need?
P utin is not afraid of the West anymore. More importantly, the West is afraid of him. All the Western leaders want to be Putin's friends. They are all in his pocket. Making Lugovoy a parliament member is not only an insult to the UK, it is the beginning of his cruel revenge towards Britain. His revenge may well continue to damage British interests all over the world. Putin is not afraid of the consequences; he is sure that the West will forgive him everything because of Russia's oil supply.
Can Putin order his agents among Islamic terrorist cells to create acts of sabotage in the UK? He's already probably ordered them to do the same thing in certain Russian cities. It's strange that the West still considers Russia its ally in fighting world terrorism when terrorism as a concept was initially invented in the KGB's headquarters as a tool of world Communist revolution. Terrorism is a part of Communist ideology. That is why, as Litvinenko used to tell me, that terrorism in Northern Ireland faded as soon as the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991: the paramilitaries stopped getting support from Moscow.
The very problem of world terrorism had also faded until the KGB regained power in Russia in the mid-1990s. That is why, according to Litvinenko, all the leading world terrorists have been KGB agents, like Carlos the Jackal. Even al-Qaeda's two leading figures, Ayman Al-Zawahiri and Juma Namangani, are KGB agents. In 1996, Litvinenko secured the secret arrival of Al-Zawahiri in Dagestan in the Northern Caucasus in Russia to be trained by FSB instructors. Namangani was once a student of the Saboteur Training Centre of the KGB's First Chief Directorate in 1989-91. Litvinenko's friend saw him there.
Russian intelligence is using Islamic terrorism all over the world. Now it is trying to prevent any easing of tension in the Middle East in order to keep the price of oil high for the Kremlin's coffers.
Konstantin Preobrazensky's latest book is The KGB's New Trojan Horse: Americans of Russian Descent.
11:23pm Saturday 12th July 2008

Save Our Trade: Editorial Meeting with the Teamsters

Our colleagues in Editorial have taken the first step in having an actual voice in their newsrooms. On Tuesday July 22nd, a group of Editorial employees met with the Guild, this evening, at their request, a group met with our Teamster Representatives. This was the bold first step it takes to determine what they will do next.

The complete article can be read by following the link.

Save Our Trade: Editorial Meeting with the Teamsters

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Guide Bids LA Times Subscribers Farewell

The Guide said goodbye this morning as the section goes to an online edition only format, here's what was said in The Guide farewell.


OK, so we're a little melancholy about not having our own section in the paper anymore, but in all honesty, the Web is the place to be. Luckily for us, we're already there ( And we're only getting better. Expect more online stories, more photos, more videos. It's a new world -- and we'll be your guide.

I hope this new world does not eliminate the entire newspaper for an online edition only.

Zell Hell Bumper Stickers

The Ink Stained Retch over at Tell Zell has some interesting merchandise for Tribunites across the country, visit Cafepress to browse all the products. We have selected the bumper stickers, that will be affixed to the printing presses and our cars.

Selling the News in Mexico City

Newspapers are ubiquitous in Mexico City -- they are sold on the street, in corner newsstands, by children walking in busy areas and in stores. Mexico City hosts multiple different daily newspapers, presenting news from various political viewpoints. This episode highlights how newspapers are distributed and sold in Mexico City.

Save Our Trade: Survey Results Part 2

Ronnie Pineda's in depth survey covering management at the Los Angeles Times through Tribune Corporate is now up in two parts, with much more to come. Click on the link below to read the results and comments.

Save Our Trade: Survey Results Part 2

Thursday Afternoon Links

Pressman Sig Sliwoski wearing a pressman's hat

Older LA Times Pressroom

Tribune Press Release

Tribune Appoints Gilbert as EVP/Multi-Media Sales

CHICAGO, July 24, 2008 -- Carolyn Gilbert, former president of Critical Mass Media, Clear Channel's once industry-dominant research and marketing arm, has joined Tribune as executive vice president/Multi-Media Sales Group (MSG), Tribune’s recruitment classifieds tele-sales division. Her initial responsibilities include re-vamping and re-tooling MSG, as well as developing and executing plans for division expansion beyond recruitment advertising.

"Work ethic, intelligence and the ability to get things done quickly and efficiently make Carolyn a great fit for the new Tribune culture," said Randy Michaels, Tribune’s chief operating officer. "I worked with her for 17 years at Jacor, and have absolutely no idea why she'd want to do it again -- she knows what she's getting into, and I'm glad she's chosen to do it anyway."

Almost three decades of experience and expertise in operations, systems and call center management make this first Tribune project an ideal match for Gilbert’s skills.

"It's been awhile since I worked for a company whose values match mine -- putting shareholder value, customer satisfaction and employee morale first," said Gilbert. "What we're doing at Tribune isn't easy. But if we're not going to have the wind at our backs, we might as well do it with the people who have them! I trust Tribune management to make decisions for the right reasons, and I trust my coworkers to work toward our common goals. Trust is a wonderful thing to feel again!"

Gilbert started her first new job in 27 years on July 7th, and has relocated to Chicago.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Real News

This city need’s real News.

With so much money disappearing from the State budget, I’d for one, Love to see an in-depth report that would audit the entire Sate Budget, and account for every last dollar spent, and let the people see how our money is/isn’t working for us. See how much of the politicians fat pockets get greased by who? I’d love to read a story about how much energy is wasted by frivolous agencies. Can someone explain the City of Los Angeles Special Service Department? What do they do?

Can we find out how much money is wasted each year, by allowing the State of California to appeal death penalty cases for more than 20 years? Why not just give them Life terms and save all that money appealing the cases for 20 or more years? Can I get a story on that?

Why do we not fire poor performing teachers, cops, and all Sate Employees? It seems to me that you have to kill someone before they can you, when you work for the State.

Why do we do business with a Rouge nation like China, that is 100% Communist in belief, help them build an infrastructure that allows this country to export our jobs, all while we condemned Fidel Castro and wanted to part of his Cigars?

Why are we defending people in other countries, while our inner city kids are killed at a higher rate than our soldiers in Iraq?

What is the cost of Welfare to the State of California? The Governor is planning to cut wages for State employees, why doesn’t he cut benefits to ALL ILLEGAL aliens? How much would that save the state? Can I get a story on that?

Can I get a report on what happened to all the Money that was allocated to the State of California for Fire infrastructure after the first major Malibu fire occurred over 20 years ago? I’d like to see what relationship the Bidders and Contractors for the State of California have with High ranking officials?

Can I get a story on all the Library’s that will close if measure 1a passes, and our children whom we pay taxes, so they can enjoy the benefits of our parents hard labor, is now in jeopardy, because our State officials are feeling sorry for the Illegal that are in our State? Whose side are the Politicians on? My side or their side? Can I get a story on that?

Why do we not have a story on the success of Voucher systems in the State of California? Why do you not report the facts on how competition is good, and how people will rise to the occasion? Instead we feel sorry for people and tell them that the State will take care of them.

I bet if we had real journalism we would flourish. Instead we cater to the one side of Los Angeles that represents 10% of the Counties Population. Listen, I understand that they have the money, but they will never have the numbers.

Winning at the Race of Life with Sammy Maloof


Thank you for joining Sammy and the Winning at the Race of Life team. We appreciate your interest in our ministry and would like you to know that our new email program department is up and running better than ever. We have added you to our mailing list and with this you will be able to receive valuable e-mail newsletters, announcements, and other information from Winning at the Race of Life to help you increase your daily walk with the Lord. We believe that your interest in us is to hear the uncompromised Word of God and that is what we will work hard to deliver to you. We are so excited that you have joined us and are confident that you will be blessed!

Remember we are here for you. You can always place an order, subscribe to the magazine, or place a prayer request 24/7 at

Thanks for being a part of the Winning at the Race of Life family! We look forward to seeing you online soon!


The Winning at the Race of Life Team

"With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26

More Older Pressroom Photo's Added to Flickr

Pressroom shift supervisor Dan Lippiatt has discovered a treasure trove of older pressroom photographs that will be uploaded to our Flickr page. Click on image or on the title to be redirected to the newest additions to our ever growing collection of Los Angeles Times pictures. Pictured below John Kane and Richard Verdugo.

Older LA Times Pressroom

LA Times 86's Horse Racing

While the Los Angeles Times offers fewer sections, I’m certain the impact will be felt, with subscribers leaving in flocks. We have already dropped The Guide, Highway 1, horse racing information, and now the Book Review.

As I browse though my hard copy of the Times tonight, I’m left wondering what other sections and features will be dropped in the near future? The crossword puzzle is something that generates no cash flow, the weather, the comics, what else can be throw overboard to stay afloat?

Not one of the three features mentioned generates cash directly for the newspaper, but each feature does generate readership, which equals higher rates that can be charged to advertisers. Unless the ultimate goal is a targeted audience on the Westside of Los Angeles?

Seems the direction all Tribune newspapers are headed, we will see a carbon copy of each Tribune Company newspaper, and with the only difference being the front page of each newspaper sometime soon.

Los Angeles Union Tribune

After the farewell gathering at Times Mirror Square last night, many of the editorial employees of the Los Angeles Times headed up Second Street to meet with The Newspaper Guild at the Redwood Bar and Grill.

Tomorrow night the editorial staff will meet with the
Teamsters at the Kyoto Grand after 5pm. 120 S. Los Angeles St., Breakout Room One

I took it for granted the bloggers at the Los Angeles Times would be spared from the current downzelling frenzy, was I ever off the mark. Seems the Times shed ten of their blogs, only to add ten new and improved blogs.

The new blogs at have been added to our list of linked Times blogs, with the newer blogs in bold typeface.

Wednesday Afternoon Linkage

Pressman Jonathan DeLeon

Hump Day Chuckle

Mike was going to be married to Karen so his father sat him down for a little chat.

He said, 'Mike, let me tell you something. On my wedding night in our
honeymoon suite, I took off my pants, handed them to your mother, and said,
'Here - try these on.' She did and said, 'These are too big. I can't wear them.' I replied, 'Exactly. I wear the pants in this family and I always will.' Ever since that night, we have never had any problems.

'Hmmm,' said Mike. He thought that might be a good thing to try. On his
honeymoon, Mike took off his pants and said to Karen, 'Here - try these

She tried them on and said, 'These are too large. They don't fit me.'

Mike said, 'Exactly. I wear the pants in this family and I always will. I
don't want you to ever forget that.'

Then Karen took off her panties and handed them to Mike. She said, 'Here-
you try on mine.' He did and said, 'I can't get into your panties.'

Karen said, 'Exactly. And if you don't change your smart-ass attitude, you
never will.'

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Save Our Trade: Survey Results Part 1

Ronnie Pineda created a survey for Tribune Employees regarding a variety of different options, here are the results of a portion of the survey. Click on the link below to be redirected to the results.

Save Our Trade: Survey Results Part 1

R.I.P. Michael Kelly

Michael Kelly's loved one's request your presense at his celebration of life.

"Life ain't always beautiful...but it's a beautiful ride"

Michael Patrick Kelly
September 23, 1958 ~ July 6, 2008

Please join us as we celebrate a life well lived. Bring your memories, stories, laughter and a few tears as we rejoice in having known such a remarkable man.

DATE: August 2, 2008
PLACE: 3508 Glen Ridge Drive
Chino Hills, CA. 91709
(Directions) click for directions
TIME: 1pm luncheon
GIVEN BY: His loved ones
CONTACT: Kacey Goyette 909.899.0107

Michael Kelly was a father, grandfather and thirty year pressman at the Los Angeles Times. He will be sorely missed by everyone he touched.

Tuesday Mid-Day News

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Beer Tasting in San Dimas Today

San Dimas Wine Shop & Tasting Room

Please join us this Sunday...for a Beer Tasting. We will taste a selection of 6 beers. For those of you that prefer wine, we will offer wine tasting, as well.
Hours: Noon to 5:00pm
Cost: $12.99

225 W. Bonita Avenue
San Dimas, CA 91773
Tue, July 15th 2:00 PM - Sun, July 20th 8:00 PM

Lodi is one of the oldest grape growing regions in California. They are known for producing high quality red varietals. This week, we will feature a selection of 6 wines.
Cost: $12.99

Hours of Operation:
Tuesday thru Thursday 2:00 to 8:00pm
Friday 2:00 to 9:00pm
Saturday Noon to 9:00pm
Sunday Noon to 5:00pm

225 W. Bonita Avenue · San Dimas CA 91773
Phone: 909-971-9425 · Fax: 909-971-9435

Video Clips of Live Music in Southern California

Last night the Blogging Pressman was invited to a party held in Rancho Cucamonga for Ron Doer's daughter's birthday party. We we're treated to a live band called The Highland Band, with the lead singer Alex from the Los Angeles Times Mailroom. The Highland Band can be heard at many of the local casino's in southern California. Contact Alex at The Highland Band

Two weeks ago today I was invited to a battle of the bands contest at Kil Kenny's in Redondo Beach, the Band Chasom caught my attention with the drummers ten year old son singing with the group. Their music is a mix of rock and rap at a very energetic pace. Visit their webpage here.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Girl Scouts Keep a Wary Eye on Claremont Mayor

As I spread my Los Angeles Times out on my work station for reading this morning, with my black coffee on the left and a jelly filled donut at the right of the newspaper, I was pleasantly surprised to see an article regarding a breaking story (four months ago) featured in the Claremont Insider, now on the front page of my employers newspaper.

The entire tale, with links to many other blogs that have covered the story as well, is an interesting read and will leave you wondering what the mayor’s actual motive was? This is a prime example of how readers will be notified of news in their communities as newspapers continue to shed reporters, and we have no options but blogs for our local news.

Great job Claremont Insider, when the Girl Scouts involved in the article are ready to sell their cookies again, sign me up for ten boxes.

Visit the Claremont Insider here: Ellen Taylor Cookie Monster Directory of Posts for Visitors

Friday, July 18, 2008

David Hiller Visits LA Times Production Facilities

Thursday afternoon David Hiller paid the men and women, which produce the hard copy of the Los Angeles Times, a surprise farewell visit, catching many off guard at the Times Olympic Production Facility. Most employees thought they would never set eyes on Mr. Hiller again, as is the usual case.

Today Mr. Hiller made a trip to the Los Angeles Times Orange County Facility, also to say goodbye to everyone that produces the newspaper.

David Hiller will not be forgotten, even with his short tenure at the Los Angeles Times, for being accessible to everyone at the newspaper from writer through pressperson.

Whom ever Sam Zell selects as his successor, they will not match David Hiller on any level.

David Hiller will be missed.

Photo credit Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Wisconsin State Journal tests two-section paper

Memo from Wisconsin State Journal's managing editor

From: Tim Kelley
Sent: Thu 7/17/2008 5:23 PM
Subject: two-section WSJ

Beginning Monday, Aug. 4, and on Mondays through August, we will test a two-section paper with our readers. Each Monday, the paper’s news and features will appear in the first section, and sports and classified will appear in the second section.

The two-section approach will reduce the overall number of pages printed without substantially reducing newshole. Eventually, we may consider running two sections Monday through Wednesday. The typical paper size would be 32 to 36 pages. These would be straight runs operating under current deadlines and makeover points.

Also, starting this Sunday, advance-printed Sunday features will be published in two sections rather than three. Adventure will appear inside Lifestyle. As with the two-section paper, a two-section Sunday advance run will reduce pages printed while not eliminating regular features.

Ellen and I will be discussing content and schedule changes to the paper with editors this week and next week. We’ll provide more information to all staff as it becomes available.


VIA: Romenesko

Baltimore Sun Employee Rally Outside Newspaper

Employees of the Baltimore Sun rally with chants of SELL ZELL over job cuts at their newspaper.

End of Week News

San Francisco Peninsula Press Club: Examiner cuts circulation 40%

Newspaper Innovation, a blog run by free daily newspaper expert Piet Bakker of the University of Amsterdam, has run the numbers and determined that the Examiner has cut its circulation by 40 percent in its three markets.

Before the switch, Bakker says the three Examiners had a combined average daily circulation of 700,000.

Now the total is 415,000 — 155,000 in Washington, 132,000 in Baltimore and 128,000 in San Francisco. (The Denver Business Journal also has a report on this.)

The cut came this month as the Examiner dropped its Saturday edition and started a Sunday edition. It also decided to only deliver to homes on Thursdays and Sundays. On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, Examiners can only be found in racks and store locations.

San Francisco Peninsula Press Club: Examiner cuts circulation 40%

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Los Angeles Times Union Meeting

I had the pleasure of meeting Sonny Shannon at the union meeting held at Shakey’s Pizza Parlor in East Los Angeles earlier tonight. It’s very pleasing knowing we have someone of Mr. Shannon’ caliber bargaining for the men and women of the Los Angeles Times Pressrooms.

The future president of our local, Ronnie Pineda, gave our group an update as to the status of negotiating with the Tribune Company. We also heard from Mike Huggins regarding the negotiations and explained that the company could have a contract completed within one week if they really wanted to bargain in good faith.

Marty Keegan was busy with the editorial personnel that surprisingly came to our meeting.

What had us all on the floor was Sonny’s explanation of how a certain Tribune representative was told in so many words to keep his mouth shut by Tribune council. Too bad Tribune council was not available before the union election to give this certain individual the same advice.

Union negotiations resume on July 30th.

Ronnie Pineda