The editor who couldn’t count

Something more about the most recently fired LA Times editor, from Random Mumblings:

The departure of Jim O’Shea from the L.A. Times shouldn’t be construed as fighting the gallant battle for journalism. It was the battle for status quo and business as usual.

What’s needed is creative thinking, new approaches and a reassessment of what newspapers do. O’Shea failed on all points. He needed to go.

Pulling last year’s or four year’s ago plans from the files and adjusting for inflation is not managing as an editor. Finding a way to do great journalism (big J and little J) despite the obstacles is.

The commentator did not just come in from the cold:

Jack Lail is managing editor/multimedia for The Knoxville News-Sentinel.

He directs The Knoxville News Sentinel’s online content efforts, which include,,, and

There’s lots more about this guy here.

Hillary, self-unmasked

This from the subscription-only Wall St. Journal “Political Diary” gives me a chill:

What a treat for viewers who tuned into the South Carolina debate on Monday night and caught a glimpse of the real Hillary Clinton. Whether it was calculated or not, the senator cleared up any doubts that, for her, winning the presidency is about revenge. Forget about veiled threats. She’s already taking names.

It’s not always clear who Hillary thinks she owes a kick in the pants to. But it’s very clear that, should she get into the White House, baby, it’s payback time. “They’ve been after me for 16 years, and much to their dismay, I am still here. And I intend to be still here when that election comes around and we win in November 2008,” she declaimed.

Whoever “they” are, you certainly don’t want to be one of “them” come January 20, 2009. For instance, apparently men and/or employers can expect the boom to be lowered for numerous injustices they have wrought. “We obviously still have problems of gender equality. You know, equal pay is not yet equal,” she warned her audience.

Also in line for punishment are those who humiliated Mrs. Clinton during her first attempt to administer a heavy dose of government-run health care whether Americans wanted it or not. “I think that the whole idea of universal health care is such a core Democratic principle that I am willing to go to the mat for it. I’ve been there before. I will be there again. I am not giving in; I am not giving up…. I am not running for president to put Band- Aids on our problems. I want to get to universal health care for every single American.” Get in her way and you’re toast.

At least she made no effort to hide her hostility, which apparently emerges from being a victim for so long. “I’m used to taking the incoming fire. I’ve taken it for 16 years.” And now, she let us know on Monday, the tables are about to turn. Be afraid.
Mary Anastasia O’Grady

This fits with my contention that Hillary is the devil we know, Barack O. the one we don’t know, except that in this case the one we know is so bad I’d be willing to risk the other if I had to choose — which, God willing, I won’t.


Lying down on back and kicking feet in air

The LA Times editor who got the ax the other day became an editor gone wild about it:

“The current system relies too heavily on voodoo economics and not enough on the creativity and resourcefulness of journalists,” O’Shea said in a farewell note to his staff that said flatly he had been fired. Too often, he said, “we’ve been dismissed as budgetary adolescents who can’t be trusted to conserve our resources.”

When quite the opposite is true?  Or are they guilty of wanting to make money without consideration of the market?

It is “simply stupid,” [Jim] O’Shea [the editor] wrote, to consider closing foreign bureaus so the Times can afford to cover the presidential campaign and the Beijing Olympics. As for Tribune Co.’s new owner, real estate financier Sam Zell, O’Shea said, “When Sam Zell understands how asinine the current budgetary system is, he will change it for the better, because he is a smart businessman.”

Zell will take business advice from O’Shea?  Please.  Instead, elementary economics from the publisher who fired him:

In an interview yesterday, [David] Hiller said the rupture came over O’Shea’s demand for a modest increase in newsroom spending, but that this was just one among many disagreements.

“It was a regrettable and unnecessary line drawn in the sand,” Hiller said. “In the environment all newspapers are facing, it is wildly unrealistic to consider a budget increase at a time when revenue is falling.”

What?  You don’t spend more when taking in less?  What sort of mentality is that?