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Ear to the Ground

Newspaper Tycoon to Slash and Burn

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Posted on Jun 9, 2008
LA Times building
Flickr / jimw

Sam Zell seems to get a kick out of antagonizing his critics, some of his own reporters among them, but this time the Tribune Co. boss has really outdone himself. Zell has announced a new model for his newspapers: 50 percent news and 50 percent ads. At the Los Angeles Times, that will mean 82 fewer pages of news every week.

That paper has already suffered years of staff cuts under Zell and his predecessors.

The argument, of course, is that newspapers have to compete with new media and must do that by offering local readers what they want. Then again, one way to compete is by offering a superior product, and readers in L.A. might respond that what they want is a quality newspaper (as opposed to a thinned out half-ad summary of local sports).

New York Times:

John Morton, an independent newspaper analyst, thinks that tipping point has already arrived at many papers.

“To the extent you diminish your product, I think you diminish your success, in print or online,” he said. “In the long run, it’s going to be harmful to newspapers’ brand names, which is the strongest thing they’ve got.”

As newspapers suffer through steep losses in circulation and advertising, Mr. Morton says many of them have accelerated the process by offering readers less, trying to cut costs and preserve unrealistic profit margins. “It’s a strategy, basically, of gradually closing down,” he said.

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By greg white, June 10, 2008 at 9:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I stopped buying the newspaper long ago.  For 3 good reasons;

1) Why should I pay to be advertised to?

2) They are pure propoganda, not “news”.

3) The trees are better off, and so is humanity, by not chopping them down to be turned into a product that’s good for one day, then thrown away.

The first two reasons are the same for why I stopped listening to the radio or watching T.V.

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By nrobi, June 10, 2008 at 7:48 am Link to this comment

At the founding of our nation, newspapers were the only medium that was able to give the news on a daily basis. They, the publishers and reporters served the publics interest in reporting on the events of the day.
Now, newspapers are nothing more than shills for the interest of the corporations that own them and they do not serve the interests of the public. Reporting of the news, real investigative journalism, does not happen, for should the paper rock the boat with reportage that is real and honest, the corporate sponsors will remove the sources of income that are necessary for the paper to run and give us the pablum that passes for news these days. 
Very few if any, websites and papers, are sources of real news and the days events, happen without so much as a word being said about them.
It is an appalling state of affairs, in these times of “war” and devastation, that we cannot access the news in any form.  Roger Mudd, spoke of the glory days of news in a lecture that can be seen on  It is representative of the kind of news reporting that was taking place during the late 50’s and 60’s into the early 70’s.
Should there ever be a real news source again, either in print or on television, I will be the first to shout out loud the return of news and its concomitant sharing of the knowledge that we, the people need to run this country.  For we are the one’s who are responsible for the mess we are in, allowing all the preceding events to take place.  If and when, we the people wake up, and again demand the real news from the press, I then believe that this country will be reformed and we will be again a country that is looked at as a haven for freedom and liberty.

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Purple Girl's avatar

By Purple Girl, June 10, 2008 at 5:27 am Link to this comment

Readership would skyrocket.
I hate haveing to search the Web for the Real Story. Even the so Called “liberal” Sites fail to really investigate the truth,skimming along the top or lying though Omissions, placating those who think the Truth has Been dug. yes Truthdig,Et Tu! Huffington Post is a Prime Example of ‘glossing Over’ and distraction. Arianna still works for the NeoCons- she’s just a covert operative throwing crumbs to appear liberal and ‘intune’.The Mcclellan Bs is a prime example- All Hail Scotty for trying to cover W’s Ass!Smoke & Mirrors, dog & Pony, paper and Promises..Just More Useless shit and Lies!
newspapers want to have a chance of survival- hand US what we Want- easy access to investigative Reporting- digging deep into controversaies and propaganda,Collecting and Coordinating the Facts to help bring Corrrupt ‘Public Servants’ and Corp top Brass to justice.
I’d buy paper instead of handing my money to Comcast et al for the convenience of not having to sift theough the numerous BS Sites for a little Truth.
” I sick & tired of hearing things
from uptight, short sighted , narrow minded hypocrtics
just gimme some truth
I’ve had enough of reading things
By neurotic,psychotic,pig headed politicians
all I want is some Truth
Just gimme some Truth
No short haired, yellow bellied SON OF TRICKY DICKY
Is gonna Mother Hubbard,soft soap me…..”
John Lennon Imagine…Like 1971!!!!

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By Tom Earnist, June 10, 2008 at 1:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have an over due check in a stamped envelope for my subscription for Sunday only L.A. Times. With this news, do I just shred it? What do I read Sunday morning? It’s sad, or just move on.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, June 9, 2008 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment

Objective journalism is only found on the internet anymore. 

The newspapers sold their integrity along time ago.

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By Sang Ze, June 9, 2008 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What’s the big deal? Newspaper have long been little more than an advertising tool of little consequence. They have a lot of nerve to charge for the privilege of reading the garbage that passes for news. I’d eliminate the news altogether and mail it free to every household in the region. Instead of calling it a newspaper, I’d call it a free flyer or something. Newspapers? Without them we could save a lot of trees and energy. Toilet paper is cheaper, and more rewarding.

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