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Thursday, February 14, 2008

It's all downhill from here

Posted on Thu, Feb 14, 2008 at 11:03 AM

Perhaps you read this morning that Sentinel publisher Kathy Waltz got the ax resigned. No, it wasn't some ethical stand against new Trib owner Sam Zell's impending destruction of real journalism in favor of stories about puppies - don't be silly. Instead, after some discussion about reshuffling the chairs on the Titanic rearranging management structure, Waltz voluntarily left the post she's had, um, forever.

Per the story: Waltz did not say that she felt any pressure to leave. But, considering the prospects for changes in high management this year, she said she "raised her hand," volunteering with her resignation.

Translation: She was gonna get fired anyway.

That alone doesn't necessarily tell us that the wheels are coming off the Trib bus. But there is a certain totality of circumstances that suggests it is so. First, there was Zell coming to Orlando, and telling a photographer that people like puppy stories, so they better goddamn well get used to it. Oh yeah, and Fuck you.

Then this, which I saw yesterday. Turns out ole' Sam, who came in promising journalistic integrity and all sorts of other shit he didn't understand, is about to cut 500 jobs from his company, including 150 at the LA Times (about a third of which will come from editorial). Here's the email he sent, in total. Read carefully:

Just to make sure you caught that: "I have discussed with many of you our mutual concern about the cyclical eroding of content quality to meet budgets manufactured in the corporate office. I promise you, in time, we will end that downward spiral."

In other words: Expect quality � eventually.

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