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Tribune, 'LAT' Lock Horns Over Central Control

The abrupt firing of The Los Angeles Times publisher Austin Beutner, and the flurry of criticism from Los Angeles civic leaders it has provoked, resulted from a deep disagreement over Tribune’s moves to centralize control of newspaper operations as part CEO Jack Griffin’s comeback strategy for the company, according to an article published by The New York Times over the weekend. Beutner’s push to increase local coverage and engagement with new sections and events ran afoul of Tribune’s overall cost-cutting strategy, the lengthy expose reports. Those cost-cutting efforts had saved $75 million, but Tribune feared Beutner’s ambitious goals for the LAT would jeopardize these savings. However Beutner and his supporters believe the LAT has entered critical phase when it must implement a growth strategy or fade into irrelevance, following years of cuts under previous publishers that reduced its newsroom from 1,200 to 500. The NYT quotes former mayor LA Antonio Villaraigosa: “Tribune has just destroyed the paper over the years — they sucked the blood out of it — and only over the last year, since Austin became publisher, did it start to feel like a hometown newspaper again.”



Read the whole story at The New York Times »

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