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Breaking: Jim O’Shea Responds to the Frontline Piece

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This memo was sent by LAT editor, Jim O’Shea, to his newsroom kinfolk in response to last night’s damning Frontline piece about the future of newspapers:

Colleagues,

Unfortuately I am not in the newsroom today. I am in New York for the L.A. Times Book Prizes. I did want to address the Frontline piece involving The Los Angeles Times, though.

I found it to be simplistic and excessively negative about the future of the newspaper industry and the L.A. Times. The piece lacked balance and sophistication and relied on stereotypes.

I know there was also concern about quotes from Charles Bobrinskoy at Ariel Capital. Mr. Bobrinskoy knows as much about newspapers and the needs and news appetites of the readers of The Los Angeles Times as I know about astrophysics. Everyone should keep in mind that “analysts” of the stock market are the same ones who advised people to buy stocks such as Enron. I could fill the Grand Canyon with the misinformation that people such as Bobrinskoy have spread. So I think everyone should look at his comments in that context.

I have never heard anyone at Tribune Company advocate that The Los Angeles Times should become a paper without foreign or national bureaus. I doubt he represents anyone’s views but his own. I certainly don’t think he is right and I would never have agreed to be your editor if such a preposterous proposal were part of any deal.

The Los Angeles Times is a great newspaper with a great staff. We face challenges, and they won’t be easy to overcome. But we will do it. We will figure out solutions to these problems and lead the industry to a bright and better future. Thanks so much for all of your hard work.

Jim.

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