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Sam Zell sent staffers the following e-mail this afternoon:

Partners,

We are about to release a statement on the lawsuit filed yesterday by a staffer at the LA Times and several former Times employees. I want to share it with you first, but I also want to stress that as we work to fix our company, we are all in this together.

As newspaper advertising revenues have declined severely over the last several months, we’ve had to take some tough steps. We’re not alone, of course — the entire publishing industry is trying to deal with the challenges posed by a tough advertising environment and an economy in turmoil. At Tribune, we’re making tremendous progress-reinventing our newspapers, expanding television news, growing WGN America, and developing a new Internet platform. We’re being watched and imitated.

The overwhelming majority of our employees have risen to the occasion — they are working extremely hard, innovating as never before, trying new things, pushing the envelope. They are using their own best judgment and questioning authority when they need to — something employees at this company rarely did in the past.

But there is a difference between questioning authority or challenging the “business as usual attitude,” and maligning the company in public. That’s just bad judgment and does no one any good. It’s a distraction that’s unnecessary.

We are partners. We need to act like it.

Sam

Official Tribune statement about the staffers’ lawsuit follows:

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