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Zell-otry at the L.A. Times

Theddd.JPGThe InkStained Retch sends us this press release:

Merry pranksters scaled a Los Angeles Times building Thursday to unfurl a three-story high banner protesting news cuts by the paper’s owner, real estate billionaire Sam Zell.

The banner was hanging from the historic Times building in downtown Los Angeles. It read: “Zell Hell: Take back the Los Angeles Times.” A website address on the bottom directed the curious to the mysterious protest site by an anonymous Times employee: www.tellzell.com

“Like many of us, he got in over his head in the mortgage crisis,” said one Times employee who participated in the banner drop. “He can’t afford what he bought. But instead of selling his house, he’s chopping it into pieces.”

The banner was the most dramatic in a series of protests that have broken out at the LA Times and across other newspapers owned by Zell, who took over the Tribune Co. at the beginning of this year.

Since then, Zell has ordered the firings of more than 300 reporters and other workers at the LA Times and slashed the space available to run stories.

The cutbacks have reduced the amount of news, analysis and in-depth reporting available to readers—especially important information during an election year. And it has deprived Southern California of a voice.

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