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Another L.A. Times editor hits the road

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Raiders, Dec 15, 2011.

  1. Raiders

    Raiders Guest

    A symbolic move, sure, but it still is inspiring when someone in a corner office says, "Not on my watch." [This area under further review.]

    The Los Angeles Times was rocked by more turmoil Tuesday when editor Russ Stanton resigned in advance of another round of cutbacks.

    Stanton, whose last day is Dec. 23, has presided over a tumultuous period of near-continuous layoffs since becoming editor in 2008. He is the fourth editor in a row – after John Carroll, Dean Baquet and James O’Shea – to leave amid demands for cuts.

  2. beanpole

    beanpole Member

    Re: Another L.A. Times editor takes the high road out

    I wouldn't applaud too hard, or at all. Stanton gutted the newsroom when editors like Dean Baquet refused. Hundreds of newsroom jobs vanished on his watch. I can't give him credit for standing up to Tribune when he was the hatchet man in Tribune's darkest era.
  3. Raiders

    Raiders Guest

    Re: Another L.A. Times editor takes the high road out

    Oh, one of those, eh? Thanks. I guess I should retool at the top.
  4. Raiders

    Raiders Guest

    Here's the LAT version, which treads gently on the home office:


    Ironic twist: Stanton's replacement once did a six-part series called "Living on Pennies."
  5. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I think it's actually a bit irresponsible of all these editors to leave in times of crises. They're leaving inevitable hatchet jobs potentially to people without familiarity with the staff or the inner workings of the newsroom. (I recognize that several of the Los Angeles Times replacement executive editors have been from within, including Maharaj. But, to my knowledge, the resigning editors didn't get to choose their replacements except for possibly John Carroll.) No one wants to make cuts, but if you're the executive editor and corporate says cuts have to be made, then it's your responsibility to make those cuts in responsible, efficient ways while damaging the product as little as possible. That's a huge part of being an executive editor at a newspaper these days.

    "Not on my watch," is a nice thought. But what it really means in these cases is, "Not on my watch -- but go ahead on someone else's." I can't suggest I know what is going through the heads of these men. But I do know that from the point in which Carroll left, every executive editor at the Los Angeles Times has had plenty of reason to think things will only get worse. Every executive editor at every newspaper in the country, at this point, has to understand that a big part of his or her job is managing cutbacks. Every executive editor needs to realize that he or she may be the last in the newspaper's history.
  6. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    See - that's the thing. I think if you don't want to make cuts, you owe it to yourself and the paper to step down and let the next person in the chair make the cuts since they will be leading the staff.
    Back in the day, when papers where hiring people instead of laying them off - I always thought it was really lame for an editor to hire someone then bolt within a month or two. Things happen - I get that, but if you think there is any chance you think you might not be there in six months, don't make someone else commit to you, when you aren't committed yourself.
  7. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Versatile, if a manager in any organization is given an order which he feels he cannot in good conscience carry out, it is his duty to himself and that organization to resign. When told to recommend people in the Boston Herald sports department to be laid off/bought out, the editor at the time submitted a list of one name -- his own. His finest moment.
  8. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Michael and Dan, my point was that there's no reason to even accept a job like executive editor at a newspaper like the Los Angeles Times unless you're willing to make cuts to staff and resourses. If that sports editor at the Herald was hired in the last two years, I might say the same about him. The reality of this business is that cuts are going to continue, and executive editors' second priority (the first being to do whatever can be done to delay the cuts) should be to figure out how best to keep the ship afloat despite the cuts.
  9. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    I don't think we're missing the point. Even in extremis, a manager's got to have the ability to back up their own judgment with action. If said manager feels an order is beyond their ability or desire to carry out, it's their duty to resign. This is for the organization's benefit as well as theirs. Someone who doesn't feel an order is right won't do the best job of executing it. There's always some replacement willing to do whatever was ordered. Always.
    BTW, my Herald case was from 2005.
  10. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    Let's make not sugarcoat this one.
    Russ Stanton was a bright editor. He embraced change and a changing climate.
    But there is no way to gloss over this number: 400-ish (more tk).
    That's how many fewer journalists are in the Los Angeles Times' newsroom from Stanton's first day till now.
  11. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    It might be a case of self-survival instincts kicking in - figure if you take an EE job at least someone else won't be determining whether you stay or go. Or maybe just the idea that you could do a more responsible job with the cuts than someone else. That said - I'm sure you soon realize it isn't worth the pay.
    If you stay around a newsroom long enough - you realize the place that you work at isn't the same paper you agreed to work at on the first day. You might as well go elsewhere when there is nothing left to leave behind.
  12. TigerVols

    TigerVols Well-Known Member

    I know the new editor, Daevan Maharaj. He is from Trinidad, where his dad is local royalty (former president of the labor union). Before college, as a young journalist, Davan did an undercover series investigating government corruption, and won some major awards.

    He's a good guy deep down inside, but he likes to note that "Maharaj" means king, and he likes to act as such. I fear for the fine worker bees at the LAT.
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