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Posts Tagged ‘Tim Rutten’

On the Docket This Weekend at Occidental College: The Future of the LA Times

It should be a most interesting Saturday afternoon in Eagle Rock thanks to the 6th Annual LA Media Reform Summit. There are always pockets of LA media that could use a little reform, but for this edition, organizers are focusing on an outlet that could will be looking at major changes: the LA Times.

Former FCC commissioner Michael Copps will kick things off at 1 p.m. with a keynote address. Then, at 2 p.m., KPFK-FM Background Briefing host Ian Masters will moderate a discussion of the imminent Tribune Co/LAT hand-off. Joining him will be Huffington Post LA reporter Kathleen Miles, Media Matters for America vp Angelo Carusone and former LAT columnist Tim Rutten. The other panel will look at how LA media news coverage can be improved.

Admission to the event, including a 5 p.m. reception, is $20.00 general and $10.00 for students and seniors. If you’re interested in RSVP-ing in advance, you can do so here.

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Five Takeaways from LA Weekly’s Fabulous LA Times Feature

Timing is everything. Just a few days before this week’s LA Weekly article “Who Will Buy the LA Times?” by Hillel Aron, CNBC broke the news that JPMorgan and Evercore will be handling the sale of the paper and other Tribune Co. assets.

That context gives the piece some extra urgency, and from this excellent bit of work by Aron, we were most struck by the following:

Richest Man in LA vs. Richest Man in the World: Aron references Patrick Soon-Shiong (pictured) in connection with former mayoral candidate Austin Beutner’s effort to put together a stealth group of combined LAT buyers. Surprisingly (at least to us), nowhere in the article does Carlos Slim come up, the man responsible for the relaunch of Larry King and much more. Aron confirms to FishbowlLA that it was not a case of being edited out; “no one ever mentioned Slim,” the writer says.

Two Shades of WSJ: The article characterizes Rupert Murdoch as the man who could potentially outbid everyone, with media expert Ken Doctor telling Aron the Wall Street Journal owner remains the odds-on favorite to acquire the newspaper. Doctor also thinks the two publications’ editorial and ad operations could be streamlined in a number of intriguing ways.

Which is perhaps ironic, because Aron also reminds that Times publisher and Tribune Co. CEO Eddie Hartenstein took a lot of flack internally for his decision to allow the Journal to print at the LAT, bumping the paper’s daily schedule down and “ruining its time-zone advantage over east coast papers.”

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Pulitzer Prize Winner Tim Rutten Finds a New Home

Last week, we told you about the hiring of former LA Times environmental reporter Margot Roosevelt by the Orange County Register. Today, there is news of another LAT veteran being snapped up by a SoCal media rival. In this case, it involves a Spring Street alum with many more years of service at that august publication.

Per this afternoon’s announcement:

In his new column, which will appear in print on Sundays and on the Los Angeles News Group (LANG) newspapers’ websites, veteran news analyst Tim Rutten (pictured) will put the issues that matter most to Southern Californians into focus for our readers.

Rutten has spent nearly 50 years writing about and analyzing Southern California as a reporter, critic and columnist. During his 40 years at the Los Angeles Times, he became one of Los Angeles’ most widely read commentators and twice was a member of teams that received the Pulitzer Prize for coverage of breaking news.

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Disgruntled Freelance Photographer Sues LA Times

Earlier this week, TheWrap’s Brent Lang had an item that was a bit of a stretch. Using vague, unattributed sources, he insinuated that LA Times columnist Tim Rutten might have been recently laid off because of mistakes made on the job (a charge Rutten gently denied).

This time around on the LA Times beat, Lang is on much more solid exclusive footing. He has the skinny on an ugly bit of litigation filed against the newspaper in May by entertainment biz photographer David Strick, who freelanced for the paper up until 2010 and now works with the Hollywood Reporter. The artist is not buying the LA Times argument that he surrendered ownership of his work by uploading it to the company’s content management system (CMS):

Strick does not set a figure for the damages he believes he’s owed, but he alleges that the Tribune Company and its television stations and various papers have published at least 174 of his photos illegally. He cites at least 510 violations of his copyrights.

Ed Greenberg, an attorney for the photographer, told TheWrap that each infringement could come with an award for as much as $150,000.

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Tim Rutten Interviews Rile LA Times

The most outspoken victims of the latest round of LA Times layoffs have been book reviewer Susan Salter Reynolds and award-winning columnist Tim Rutten (pictured). Today, Rutten has shared a couple of interesting new observations with TheWrap’s Brent Lang.

Rutten says he was puzzled by his removal from book review assignments after he made a mistake in a February 2, 2011 Op Ed piece. He also reveals that his former employer was unhappy with the comments he made on KPCC and KCRW in the immediate aftermath of his dismissal:

“I know they were upset with those interviews–which I did not seek–because one of my editors was instructed to call me and tell me that they were upset by it,” Rutten said. “I think that if people were upset, then the burden is on them to say what part of what I said about the state of the Times is either factually incorrect or substantially unfair. If they can point to those things, I think they have a legitimate beef.”

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Adding to the LA Times Body Count

The staffers laid off from the LA Times last week weren’t the only ones losing their jobs. Some, like Randy Hagihara, director of the metro & summer internship program, took voluntary buyouts. Freelance budgets were slashed in multiple sections, meaning less work for struggling freelancers. We heard from Avital Binshtock, a regular contributor to the travel section, that her Tours & Cruises and Calendar columns were being killed. And we’ve spoken to other LA Times freelance contributors who are uncertain of their future with the paper and are, at this point, just keeping their fingers crossed.

Just when we thought we couldn’t hate Sam Zell any more than we already do.

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Tim Rutten ‘Surprised But Not Shocked’ by LA Times Layoff

The official clock-punch time for those affected by the latest round of LA Times layoffs is midnight, tonight. As first reported by FishbowlLA, one of those who got thrown under the Sam Zell bus this time around was media columnist Tim Rutten (pictured).

Rutten spoke with KPCC-FM 89.3 morning host Madeleine Brand about the end of a very long downtown LA run. There have already been a number of eloquent farewell emails from similarly affected colleagues. Rutten tells Brand he knew he was on shaky ground:

“Whatever the merits of your work, to be older and to be collecting a relatively large paycheck was to have a kind of target on your back,” he says, admitting that he was surprised but not shocked by the news…

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Breaking: Major Layoffs at the LA Times

A source tells us columnist Tim Rutten was definitely laid off.  So was Sharon Bernstein, the assistant business editor. We’re told the Calendar section will largely be spared, losing mainly expense and freelance budgets. But that “features (health, travel, food etc) is getting hit harder.”

LA Observed reports NBA writer Mark Heisler was also let go.

Sadly, more to come on this story, we’re sure.

The LA Times‘ Tim Rutten Not a Fan of Simon & Schuster Right Now

Tim Rutten of the LA Times already panned the upcoming Simon & Schuster book “O: A Presidential Novel”–a fictional rendering of Obama’s upcoming 2012 presidential campaign, written anonymously by a supposed political insider with access to Obama–in a review last week. Done deal, right?

Not good enough, Rutten argues in today’s LA Times. There’s something more sinister going on with this book worth noting in a second piece.

Simon & Schuster’s publisher, Jonathan Karp, has claimed that the book “offers some resonant truths about what President Obama is really thinking.” As I noted in The Times’ wholly unfavorable review of “O” last week, “my reviewers’ copy arrived with an unusual letter from … Karp, informing us that the author of this novel ‘is someone who has been in the room with Barack Obama and knows this world intimately. The author wishes to remain anonymous to avoid being pigeonholed or ignored or scorned on the basis of associations, views or background.’”

The author, Rutten notes, has no access to Obama’s inner thoughts, nor is he anonymous anymore. He’s former John McCain aide and ghostwriter Mark Salter.

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The RNC, the Magic Negro and the LA Times

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In March, David Ehrenstein penned a piece in the LA Times titled “Obama the ‘Magic Negro’”. The term ‘Magic Negro’ comes from film criticism about the stock character commonly played by say Morgan Freeman. Wikipedia explains the phrase as ‘a supporting, often mystical stock character in fiction who, by use of special insight or powers, helps the white protagonist get out of trouble.’

It’s like the hooker with a heart of gold or the nun with no heart at all. A movie cliche. Like when someone coughs – they’re dying. Or a woman throws up – she’s pregnant.

Anyway, Ehrenstein’s piece was not about Barack Obama, it was about the image of the Magic Negro and what the public has projected on to him.

Enter, right-wing ‘knowhard’ Rush Limbaugh and ‘satirist’ Paul Shanklin. Shanklin wrote a spoof to the tune of “Puff the Magic Dragon”. Titled,”Barack the Magic Negro.” With the lyrics sang by an Al Sharpton impersonator,”Barack the magic negro lives in DC. The LA Times they called him that because he’s not authentic like me. The guy from the LA paper said he made guilty whites feel good…” and “Don’t vote the Magic Negro in…”

So, who cares? No one. But then Chip Saltsman, former Mike Huckabee campaign staffer (snicker) wants to be RNC chair, so what better to send out to all his associates for Christmas than a copy of “Barack the Magic Negro”.

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