According to Mark Lacter at L.A. Observed, Tribune bigwigs Sam Zell and Randy Michaels have announced that the L.A. Times and other Tribune papers are planning to cut reporters who don’t produce a lot of copy:
Besides fewer pages, look for a smaller newsroom. Michaels says that the average Times “journalist” writes the equivalent of 51 pages a year, while the average output in Hartford and Baltimore is around 300 pages. “You can eliminate a fair number of people while eliminating not much content,” he said. He kept calling it the “right-sizing” of the newsrooms and promised “this is going to happen quickly.”
Kevin Roderick doesn’t like it:
Ugh. Zell and Michaels seem to think that covering the world, Washington and in-depth investigations should take no more time and resources than the crap their other papers churn out. It doesn’t work that way.
No, it doesn’t. The crap the L.A. Times churns out takes way more time and resources than the crap the other papers churn out.
That’s 43 articles in 41 months — barely over an article a month. More than a third were co-written with other reporters. That leaves plenty of time to do that in-depth investigative reporting Roderick speaks of.
Except, of course, one of Philips’s three 2008 articles had to be retracted — because it was bogus and based on phony documents.
Maybe Zell and Michaels are thinking: as long as we’re getting crap anyway, let’s at least get more of it!