None of us in journalism feel particularly joyful over the latest series of events to rattle the institution that is the Tribune Company, based in Chicago. And none of us in L.A. feel reassured that the main broadsheet in this metropolis continues to hang in a state of suspended animation. Here's a story I wrote with my colleague Laura Holson about the reaction at the paper downtown to the sale of the Tribune Company to Sam Zell (below), as I call him, a "bargain-seeking billionaire." As we write: " The Los Angeles Times was nothing but trouble for the Tribune Company, and it may prove even more of a challenge for its new owner, Samuel Zell. Ever since the Tribune Company bought the Times Mirror Company in 2000 — and, with it The Los Angeles Times — there has been a culture clash between the Chicago-based owners at Tribune and its marquee California newspaper. The schism seems to have helped fuel things like the public criticism that the paper is out of touch and the recent battles in the newsroom that have led to high-profile resignations. (more)
Here's the details of the complicated deal by Kit Seelye and RIchard Siklos, which involve employees becoming part-owners of the company, and essentially shouldering much of the risk for its future success. I am frequently asked whether I spend much time worrying about competing with the L.A. Times. I really don't, and I think the question is misdirected. Those of us in traditional newspapers need to worry about competition from the Internet, from bloggers and aggregators who pick through our news gathering for commentary, and from online folks with their ear to the ground who sometimes beat us to the punch. We need to be in that game in a big way in order to evolve, and survive.