Patterico's Pontifications


LAT Publisher “Abruptly” Fired

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:26 am

See ya!

Los Angeles Times Publisher Austin Beutner was abruptly fired Tuesday after leading a yearlong drive to reshape the media company by emphasizing digital experimentation, a deeper connection with the community and efforts to cultivate ardent readers in the belief that advertising would follow.

Jack Griffin, chief executive of Tribune Publishing Co., parent company of The Times, met with Beutner in Los Angeles on Tuesday morning to give him the news.

Beutner’s successor, Timothy E. Ryan, is the 15th publisher in the 134-year history of The Times.

Neither Beutner nor Tribune Publishing officials would elaborate on what triggered the leadership change, but people familiar with the situation said it stemmed from a fundamental clash over whether The Times and its recently acquired sister paper, the San Diego Union-Tribune, should remain within the newspaper chain.

It was done the old-fashioned way: get out, and get out now:

In the end, Beutner’s departure was quick and unceremonious. He presided over his normal 8 a.m. start-of-week meeting with senior staff, at the end of which he said, “This is the last one of these I’ll be doing for a while.”

Shortly afterward, Griffin told him he was being terminated.

By midmorning, a human resources officer was asking Beutner to surrender his company badge and quickly vacate his second-floor office.

It’s part of a long, slow death for the newspaper industry as a whole, and this paper in particular.

Few will be shedding tears when the funeral finally happens.

Thanks to Kevin M.

14 Responses to “LAT Publisher “Abruptly” Fired”

  1. 🙂 Well, I’m always a bit sorry when someone loses his job, but he probably got a better separation payment than do most people. But, in the end, newspapers are 18th entury technology, and once the last generation which grew up reading print newspapers every day dies, so will the industry.

    The Dana who got in the first comment (f6a568)

  2. At least he won’t starve as he still has most of his $100 million.

    Leftist media barons eat each other for lunch.

    Mike K (90dfdc)

  3. Leftist media barons eat each other for lunch.
    Mike K (90dfdc) — 9/9/2015 @ 8:07 am

    So you’re claiming they’re all vegetarians?

    John Hitchcock (81341d)

  4. McClatchy, which is something like the 3rd largest newspaper chain, stock sold for around $75 a share in 2005 and now they struggle to stay above a dollar a share. Couple of weeks ago they actually hit 75 cents a share.

    This is the chain that owns the Sacramento Bee. What is amazing is that most of the papers they own are monopolies in the cities and towns where they publish and they still can’t make it. What is more amazing is that almost all of these papers have a business section that tells other people how to run a business.


    Anchovy (a8ec7a)

  5. I found this part of the article to be quite interesting:

    The Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday that company leaders were unhappy with some of Beutner’s staffing moves, including the hiring of Nicco Mele as deputy publisher overseeing digital initiatives, and Johanna Maska as vice president of marketing and communications.

    Mele, a digital campaign strategist, served as an advisor to former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign. Maska served in the White House Press Office under President Obama.

    Citing unnamed sources, the Tribune story said the “political undertones” of those hires had engendered suspicion that Beutner — who once explored a run for mayor of Los Angeles — was angling for the governor’s seat.

    So Beutner had hoped to re-shape the newspaper by bringing in Democrat party hacks in key digital roles, and he perhaps had his own plans to seek public office in this left-wing state. One wonders why he didn’t go whole hog and just get a content-sharing agreement with the Daily Kos. Somehow I don’t think the paper will be worse off not having Austin Beutner at the helm.

    JVW (ba78f9)

  6. And the drain circling continues unabated…..

    Bill M (906260)

  7. Looks like liberals will have to get their mythology from another source now.

    CrustyB (69f730)

  8. With the acquisition of the SD U-T by Tribune Co, only the OCR is a relatively independent voice in print media within CA – you have to wonder how long they can last?

    askeptic (efcf22)

  9. The Publisher does not matter. The rag is infested by mediocrities, like “Half Truth Hiltzik,” Boring Banks, and Maura Dolan. As resistant to change as the former MLK hospital, while staffed by those hard core union employees.

    Harcourt Fenton Mudd (5e0a82)

  10. ” only the OCR is a relatively independent voice in print media within CA”

    No they aren’t. They may publish Libertarian editorials and some conservative columnists on the editorial page, but their news staff is garden-variety leftwing progressives through and through. Their “news” stories read like “progressive conventional wisdom” – pursue every liberal leftwing angle, ignore and mischaracterize conservative angles. The front “National” section is just copy from the usual sources: NYT, AP, WP, etc., etc. The paper is a joke.

    MikeHs (03abc5)

  11. advertisers want establishment views presented to readers, this is why limbaugh is loosing large corporate sponsors. It does not matter how many readers you have if the advertisers don’t like what your saying.

    newshawk (f967e2)

  12. I thought the OCR was bought out a few years back. Yes, indeed. From Wikipedia:


    On July 25, 2012, The Orange County Register and six other papers were purchased by 2100 Trust LLC.[13] The papers continued to operate under the Freedom Communications name.[14] In December the Register changed its logo and branding, dropping “The” in favor of Orange County Register.[15]

    A lawsuit was filed in October 2013 by the former owners of Freedom Communications against Aaron Kushner, principal of 2100 Trust, demanding that Kushner’s company pay more than $17 million remaining on the sale. The Los Angeles Times wrote that Kushner, “a former greeting-card executive with no prior media experience,” claimed that the prior owners had given him “inaccurate valuations for a host of crucial financial indicators” and that he faced “$62.3 million in unexpected financial liabilities as a result.”[14]

    On August 19, 2013, the Long Beach Register was launched as an edition of the Orange County Register serving the Long Beach, California, community. It was focused solely on community news, including city government, public and private education, local sports coverage, business and entertainment as an intended competitor to the Long Beach Press-Telegram. In addition, on January 20, 2014, The Press-Enterprise became an edition of the Orange County Register while maintaining coverage of the Inland Empire.[16]

    On April 16, 2014, the Orange County Register launched the Los Angeles Register, “more a print play than a digital one” serving all of Los Angeles County. It was the first time since the Herald-Examiner folded on November 1, 1989, that a main competitor to the Los Angeles Times was launched, this time intended to be “as local as one edition can be for the entire county.”[17] Five months later, Kushner announced in a company memo that the Los Angeles Register was ending publication effective immediately. Kushner wrote that “pundits and local competitors” will be quick to call the effort a failure while he believes that “not taking bold steps toward growth” would have been the true failure.[18] The Long Beach Register became a Sunday-only publication in June 2014,[19] and ceased publication in December 2014.[20] In October the Los Angeles Times sued the Register for failing to pay more than $2 million to the Times for delivery services for the now defunct Register newspapers in Los Angeles and Long Beach. In March 2014 the Los Angeles Superior Court granted the Times a $4.2 million writ of attachment to secure the ability of the Times to enforce a possible judgment in its favor.[21]

    On March 10. 2015, Aaron Kushner and his partner, Eric Spitz, unexpectedly resigned from executive duties at the paper and Freedom Communications Inc. The company was rumored to be readying itself for a potential sale. Publisher Rich Mirman was announced as the new president and chief executive

    Seems like if the Kochs want a voice in SoCal, this would be a way to go about it.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  13. The Publisher does not matter.

    True. Because every reporter writes from a leftist perspective. It’s ingrained, it’s the way they have been taught since grade school, it’s insurmountable.

    Patricia (5fc097)

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