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Posts Tagged ‘Tribune Co.’

Who Will Be The OC Register‘s New Daddy?

MediaNews Group and the Tribune Co. are the lead bidders for the Orange County Register, reports “Newsosaur” Alan D. Mutter. Both publishing companies would stand to benefit from the bump in SoCal circulation and consolidation of operating expenses. But do they want the Register‘s brothers and sisters?

A major issue in any potential transaction would be whether the Register is purchased as a free-stranding entity or the buyer also takes ownership of Freedom’s eight television stations and its more than 100 daily and weekly newspapers. In the interests of minimizing taxes on the transaction, Freedom’s management is known to favor a sale of the entire company, as opposed to the piecemeal disposition of individual assets.

Even so, we’ll keep our fingers crossed that Freedom will be sold off in bits and pieces and not as a giant entity. Consolidation may be good for operating expenses, but it is lousy for newsrooms.

Lee Abrams Thinks He’s Some Kind Of Wild Rebel

In a video interview with John Loscalzo for My Damn Channel, Lee Abrams demonstrates that he’s still living in a fantasy world where, during his tenure at the Tribune, he was a brilliant innovator fighting against a stodgy, “50′s-rooted” culture.

The 60′s were obviously a very important time for Abrams.

Of course, there’s nothing innovative about bad ideas, incompetence, and sexual harassment. But watching Abrams insist otherwise is kind of entertaining.

See the full interview here.

Anxiously Waiting For Randy Michaels to Get Fired

Late last night, The New York Times and The Chicago Tribune reported that the Tribune Company board may be planning to ask CEO Randy Michaels to resign. That it may happen at a board meeting taking place today. That Michaels’ successor and his golden parachute were already being discussed.

This is all according to inside sources who spoke to the media outlets on condition of anonymity. We are praying that they are reliable sources who are right about everything.

What seems to have motivated the board to consider ousting Michaels was not the prolonged downward spiral of the media properties under his management, but the embarrassing report by the NY Times detailing his inappropriate, sexist behavior, and the resignation of fellow exec Lee Abrams over an embarrassingly sexually explicit memo. From the Chicago Times:

Board members, sources say, began to worry about possible liability issues related to their fiduciary duties and started exploring Michaels’ fitness to run the company.

In other words, they woke up. Now when are they gonna get rid of the guy?

Previously on FBLA:

  • NYT Story on Tribune Company May Have Killed Bankruptcy Negotiations
  • Tribune Exec Suspended For Sluts & Boobs Email
  • Tribune Co. Exec Lee Abrams Resigns
  • Tribune Co. Exec Lee Abrams Resigns

    Ding dong, the witch is dead. Two days after Chief Innovation Officer Lee Abrams was suspended without pay for sending out a risque email to the entire Tribune staff, Abrams has resigned.

    It may have taken sexually explicit material to get rid of him, but staffers have long been offended by Abrams’ weekly email rants, his terrible ideas, and his general lack of respect for journalism. From the LA Times:

    Championing change at Tribune newspapers and broadcast outlets, Abrams repeatedly accused TV news of clinging to a late-20th century look, sound and feel. He wondered aloud whether readers knew that a newspaper dateline meant the reporter was actually writing from the location where the story occurred.

    Abrams also advocated new and different styles of storytelling and conveying information. In Houston, where the Tribune TV station has virtually no viewers to lose, he was developing an anchorless newscast.

    It’s not known what will happen to Abrams’ Tribune projects and initiatives with his departure.

    Tribune Co. Awards $25k For Employee’s Good Idea

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    Well see, this is why the company can’t get out of bankruptcy (just kidding!): Tribune Co.‘s paper The Sun Sentinel just handed $25,000 and a free Caribbean cruise to Bob Simons, a production manager who suggested a cheap supplier for some office equipment. No, that’s not a joke. Tribune CEO Randy Michaels and COO Gerry Spector said that Simons’ idea saved $1 million for the newspaper alone. Reminds us of that moral-boosting plan at Condé Nast‘s to pay out $10k to forward-thinking employees each quarter…though with Tribune currently trying to restructure itself out of bankruptcy while fighting off creditors, giving $25k away to one employee (and promises of more “spot bonuses in the months ahead) might be sending the wrong message…no matter how good the company’s intentions are.

    Memo from Michaels and Spector after the jump.

    Read More: Sun Sentinel production employee gets $25,000 bonus for his million-dollar suggestion — Poynter

    Previously: Conde Nast Promises $10K A Quarter For Innovative Ideas, Tribune Creditors Pissed, Natch

    Read more

    Tribune Creditors Pissed, Natch

    zell122222.02.08.jpgUnsurprisingly, the Delaware court’s decision last week to award Tribune Co. execs $45 million in bonuses for a year when the company was under Chapter 11 bankruptcy pissed off a bunch of people, and not only the media publisher’s employees.

    Junior creditors, who have been owed money by Sam Zell and keep getting rebuffed in their requests to handle the bankruptcy management of the company, have asked the U.S. bankruptcy court to file a complaint against Zell and his management, claiming that they knew the entire time that they were driving the Tribune company into the ground, and in fact it was part of their game plan all along. The complaint alleges that Zell’s 2007 buyout was a “fraudulent conveyance” and asks that those senior lenders who helped fund the deal be cut off from all of Tribune’s assets.

    Read More:
    Junior Creditors Call Tribune Co. Bankruptcy ‘Fraudulent Conveyance’Editor & Publisher

    Previously: Bankrupt Tribune Company Hands Out $45 Million In Bonuses

    Tribune Bonus Ruling Leaves Union “Disappointed”

    nqewspaper222.jpgYesterday we reported that a Delaware court had ruled that Tribune Co. would be allowed to dole out $45 million in executive bonuses during a year when the company was mired in bankruptcy.

    Obviously this has ruffled the feathers of not only Tribune employees, many of whom took the brunt of the revenue shortage, but of the Newspaper Guild-Communications Workers of America, which represents the company’s staffers. The union put out a statement about the court’s decision yesterday, saying they were “disappointed.”

    “Although Tribune says its executives wouldn’t be motivated to work hard without bonuses, we think more highly of our bosses,” the guild said.

    After the jump, the guild’s full statement.

    Read more

    Bankrupt Tribune Company Hands Out $45 Million In Bonuses

    I8D60Q6L6NJVC9H5L8D.gifFor the last several months, Sam Zell and Tribune Co. have been petitioning a Delaware court to let them handle their own bankruptcy management instead of handing the company over to creditors. Zell, who bought Tribune in 2007 and then promptly ran it into the ground, has outlined a plan that will get the company that owns papers like The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune back out of bankruptcy by May.

    But now we know why Zell and other top brass at Tribune don’t want to turn management over to the creditors: that way they wouldn’t be able to pay themselves millions of dollars in bonuses after two years when many of their employees went on strike because of job cuts and poor working conditions.

    Read more

    FishbowlNY Readers Respond: The Media’s Biggest Misstep In 2009 Was Gourmet‘s Closing

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    Wow, people really cared about Condé Nast‘s epicurean magazine Gourmet, huh? Not only did our readers vote it the saddest magazine closing in 2009, but also the biggest media misstep (by 39 percent) made in a year that was chock-full of wrong turns and dead-ends.

    Surprisingly, nobody thought BusinessWeek‘s sale to Bloomberg LP was the biggest mistake (except for former BusinessWeek employees, of course), while only 4 percent thought that The New York Post‘s firing of editor Sandra Guzman after speaking out against its controversial cartoon was the biggest blunder. In fact, what about the cartoon itself, which we didn’t put on our poll but certainly belongs in the Top 10 “D’oh!” moments of 2009.

    Meanwhile coming in second place was our all-encompassing reference to “Everything the Tribune Co. has done this year,” which ranges from endlessly pushing back their filing of a Chapter 11 reorganization plan while their lenders grew impatient, to letting some of their best writers and editors go over to the Chicago News Cooperative. All of those things lead to 24 percent of our readers shaking their heads at the many, many mistakes of Sam Zell and Tribune Co.

    With 12 percent of the votes, readers chose to pick Rupert Murdoch‘s war with Google as the biggest mistake of the year…although since Murdoch has yet to act on his threats, and the move to Microsoft’s Bing might actually be beneficial to Murdoch and other news companies in the long run, we’ll have to wait to see how that pans out.

    Coming in with four percent was Long Island newspaper Newsday‘s decision to put up a pay wall for its Web site, so have fun paying for your news next year, guys. Also given four percent of the vote was Reader’s Digest‘s bankruptcy filing, though the publisher’s decision to shut down Purpose Driven Connection was probably one of the best moves of the year.

    And of course, nine percent of our readers decided to be contrary and choose “Other.” Maybe they were thinking that the government’s lack of a bailout for the media was the biggest misstep we saw in 2009?

    Previously: Reader’s Digest Files For Ch. 11, What Was The Media’s Biggest Misstep in 2009?, Video: News Corp. Gets Grinchy With Google , Is the New York Post Comparing Obama to a Rabid Monkey?

    Tribune Co. Reorganizes Execs In Face Of Lender Probing

    tribune logo2333.jpgWhen we last left Sam Zell, owner of the Tribune Co., he was challenging the objections of senior lenders to retain the exclusive right to reorganize his company’s structure and take it out of Chapter 11, where its been for almost a year.

    Now it looks like Zell is taking matters into his own hands and starting the reorganization process already. Yesterday, several executives were shuffled around the company, including Gerry Spector‘s move to COO of Tribune Co. from chief administrative officer, and CFO Chandler Bigelow‘s expansion of his role to include financial operations in publishing and human resources. Nils Larsen was also named CIO “effective immediately.”

    Press release after the jump

    Read More: Tribune Co. reorganizes executives, names Gerry Spector chief operating officerChicago Tribune

    Previously: Tribune Co.’s No Good, Very Bad Week

    Read more

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