Inspecting Ourselves

Media Critics’ New New Thing

It's unclear which paper will suffer the most cuts under the new regime. The L.A. Times will be first, according to one newsroom pundit, "because it has the most fat." But despite promises that no layoffs are in sight, the editor and publisher jobs in this merger are by no means secure. For example, Newsday publisher Raymond Jensen and editor Anthony Marro heard about the deal in advance, but how will they react if the new owners want to reenter the New York newspaper market, which Trib execs sound eager to do?

David Laventhol, a former publisher of New York Newsday, recalled that the Tribune lost money when it owned the Daily News in the 1980s, just as Times Mirror was unable to sustain New York Newsday, which it closed in 1995. "I don't know what they've got in mind" for the New York City market, said Laventhol. "We've been down that road already, and so have they."

At the Baltimore Sun, publisher Michael Waller has promised no layoffs, but does not know whether he personally will be asked to stay. To be sure, Sun staffers face a double whammy, fearing they might lose both Waller and their beloved editor John Carroll. It's no secret that Carroll has a shot at becoming curator of the Nieman Foundation when Kovach steps down in June.

Said Carroll, "It's still early in the process. . . . Nobody's offered me a job and I have no idea what I'd do if they did."

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