Patterico's Pontifications

7/14/2008

Hiller Out As L.A. Times Publisher; Layoffs Begin

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 6:32 pm

L.A. Observed reports that David Hiller is out as L.A. Times publisher, and layoffs begin today.

Grim times at the newspaper we love to hate.

The L.A. Times can’t (or won’t) tell us that Hiller’s exit was not voluntary. From the L.A. Times story:

Los Angeles Times Publisher David Hiller resigned today after a 21-month tenure that included the departure of two Times editors and plans for the sharpest staff and production cuts in the newspaper’s history amid a continuing slide in advertising revenue.

So he wasn’t fired . . . he resigned? It doesn’t even say the company “claimed” he resigned. It just says he did.

Well, I guess if anyone should know, it would be the L.A. Times. They have access to their own publisher, and they wouldn’t report something as fact if it weren’t locked down tight. That’s just the type of news organization they are.

Except, let’s look at Hiller’s departure memo:

When I told my mother that Sam wanted to see me this morning, she said do you think he wants to make you CEO of the whole company? You see where a lot of my optimism comes from. By now you have also heard that Sam had other ideas and I will be leaving The Times. Sams the boss and he gets to pick his own quarterback.

Resigned, eh?

When it’s Truth vs. Spin, Spin wins every time.

UPDATE: Speaking of which, I’m told the word around the newsroom is that Chuck Philips has been asked to leave. Hardly surprising in light of the paper’s retraction, and Philips’s failure to publish a story since.

Also, maybe they know there are shoes yet to drop.

16 Comments

  1. At first glance, I could have sworn your headline said “Hitler Out As L.A. Times publisher.”

    Comment by Laura (5d8a25) — 7/14/2008 @ 6:39 pm

  2. This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, we print the legend.

    Comment by Christian Lindke (aa4f59) — 7/14/2008 @ 6:46 pm

  3. Interestingly Ann Marie Lipinski, Chicago Tribune Editor and Senior Vice President also quit today.

    “[The] decision was difficult and a long time coming and it would be inaccurate to attribute it to any one event,” Lipinski, 52, who joined the paper as an intern in 1978 and was named the 161-year-old newspaper’s 20th editor in 2001, wrote in her memo.

    “I began my editorship seven months before 9/11 and in the seven years since have become accustomed and even comfortable with editing and managing through crisis and change,” she wrote. “But professionally, this position is not the fit it once was. Personally, my family and I believe it is time.”

    Comment by kimsch (2ce939) — 7/14/2008 @ 8:05 pm

  4. Patrick,
    Well, if the Slimes closes down, What happens to the blog? /sarc

    Comment by paul from Fl (4dd8c4) — 7/14/2008 @ 8:05 pm

  5. There needs to be a random blog over on the right that lets us post drive-by blasts on the LA Times.

    Notice how the LA Times coverage of the IndyMacBank collapse is so weak? Big newspapers are all defaulting to reprinting the same list of stories (in the same order) as news.google.com.

    Who are the Shillings of IndyMac ? Who knew what when? This is actually exciting stuff drowned out by the collapse of LA Times itself. Who were the guys running the IndyMac show, and how many millions did they make dumping this crap of a bank onto the Feds, who will pay $8 billion. Very sad and pathetic coverage. WHO?!

    Comment by Wesson (f6c982) — 7/14/2008 @ 8:27 pm

  6. Silly question I’m sure, and I think I know he answer.

    But, what exactly does the “publisher” do?

    I have always believed the publisher ran the “business” side of a newspaper, while the editors ran the content side.

    Anyone care to elaborate?

    Comment by WLS (02df99) — 7/14/2008 @ 8:52 pm

  7. Why on earth did Zell buy this paper?

    Is he planning on hiring Patterico as Publisher?!

    Comment by Patricia (f56a97) — 7/14/2008 @ 9:26 pm

  8. Patricia, #7

    That’s the first I’ve heard of the purchase, could you direct me to further information about it?

    And if Zell is interested in going from a forlorn cause to a truly hopeless cause, there’s always the San Diego Union/Tribune.

    Comment by Alan Kellogg (f1bcfa) — 7/14/2008 @ 10:17 pm

  9. Perhaps “allegedly resigned” would have been best.

    Comment by Kevin Murphy (0b2493) — 7/14/2008 @ 11:49 pm

  10. In light of Brett Favre’s antics, will Hiller be un-fired next month?

    Comment by PCD (5c49b0) — 7/15/2008 @ 5:28 am

  11. When I was a kid I didn’t show up for work for 3 days, and they resigned me.

    Comment by Kevin (834f0d) — 7/15/2008 @ 5:41 am

  12. This Lipinski quote is interesting:

    ““I began my editorship seven months before 9/11 and in the seven years since have become accustomed and even comfortable with editing and managing through crisis and change,” she wrote. “But professionally, this position is not the fit it once was. Personally, my family and I believe it is time.”

    So is she saying that 9-11, (which happened in New York not L.A.) gives her “street cred” for managing a “crisis?” In what way? She was on the other side of the country! The only crisis they faced was how to keep the video and images of the deaths of 3,000 Americans out of the minds of the American people. I think she’s giving herself WAAAYYY more credit than she’s due.

    Comment by alpheus (abc9c8) — 7/15/2008 @ 6:06 am

  13. alpheus – Lipinski was in Chicago at the Tribune. The Tribune company also owns the LA Times.

    Comment by kimsch (2ce939) — 7/15/2008 @ 9:47 am

  14. This quote from the story indicates Hiller was fired.

    A statement he e-mailed to Times staff suggested that he was ousted by Tribune Chairman and Chief Executive Sam Zell: “Sam’s the boss and he gets to pick his own quarterback.”

    The article’s byline belongs to someone we all know and love here.

    Comment by Stu707 (adbb5a) — 7/15/2008 @ 10:07 am

  15. I can’t wait to see this august publication to go belly up.

    Comment by trentk269 (3d3bfe) — 7/15/2008 @ 1:14 pm

  16. Alan,
    He bought the Tribune Co last year. Zell article

    Comment by Patricia (f56a97) — 7/15/2008 @ 8:01 pm

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