How Moguls and Wall Street Plundered Great American Newspapers

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

In 2000, after the Tribune Company acquired Times Mirror Corporation, it became the most powerful collection of newspapers in the world. Veteran Tribune and Los Angeles Times editor James O'Shea looks at how the Tribune ended up diving into bankruptcy and public scandal. His book The Deal From Hell chronicles how news industry executives and editors made a series of flawed decisions that drove the newspapers to the brink of extinction.


James O'Shea

Comments [9]

toujouravocado from Los Angeles

As a resident of LA for the past 30 years, I have to say the LA Times Book Review was second rate at the best of times and generally was worse than that.

It is easy to say it was a great book review if you didn't end up trying to read it once a week.

Oct. 05 2011 03:06 PM
A listener

O'Shea took the Tribune's money for a long, long time and only after he was fired by the company did he have his moment of clarity. IMHO, his timing stinks.

And if Wall Street is so awful, I wonder if over the years O'Shea ever profited from rising stock prices, stock splits and stock options.

The truth, I believe, is that if Zell's people had been a bit less disgusting (or a bit more discrete) and if Zell's Hail Mary scheme had worked, O'Shea would still be working at the Chicago Tribune.

Oct. 05 2011 02:03 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

The news manufacturing industry simply got too large and unsustainable, and like many other manufacturing industries, is being forced to downsize to fit the economic realities of the times.

Foreign news manufacturers, like Al Jazeera and a host of others have also played a major part in beating down US news manufacturers.

Oct. 05 2011 12:50 PM

jgarbuz, one of the outstanding pieces of journalism was Drogin's LATimes work on Curveball. However, it took until 2005 for the story to come out, quite a bit too late to do any good. Don't know why it couldn't have been known a lot earlier.,0,7743996.story

Oct. 05 2011 12:28 PM
Paul from Ridgewood NJ/NYC

I remember reading that New York Newsday was doing well or well on the way to doing well, but the owners killed it because there was some kind of profit incentive or tax advantage to doing so. Is that true?

A former Long-Islander.

Oct. 05 2011 12:26 PM

With due respect for the guest:
1. Reporters have become stenographers bc their corp owners won't let them do anything else.
2. End of "fairness" doctrine.

Oct. 05 2011 12:17 PM

I assumed this would be about the early 90s, when gannett and other publicly traded companies fired the staff, sold the desks, and profited the "savings." by 1994 - Internet- the newspaper biz was fairly well castrated.

Oct. 05 2011 12:14 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Boo hoo, the newspaper format is rapidly shrinking! Welcome to the mom & pop store.

Most "news" is manufactured muckraking anyway. They have to manufacture a big crisis every day to grab audiences. Most "news" is baloney anyway. Occasionally, a real "story" comes along that is genuine and perfectly truthful. But most of the time, it is largely manufactured hype.

Oct. 05 2011 12:13 PM

I'm shocked. Wall St. plunders! Whoda believed it.

Oct. 05 2011 12:08 PM

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