Monday, January 21, 2008
Jim signs off at the LA Times
Jim O'Shea's address to the newsroom this morning is a rallying cry for those who love newspapers and believe that, even as we have greater access to information than ever before, journalists still have a crucial role to play in informing our societies.
The full text is on the web complete with an email from Sam Zell backing his money guys. I'm particularly fond of Jim's exhortation for newspapers to cover Barack Obama more than Britney Spears though having looked at some of our local Sundays yesterday, I have to wonder if readers don't want more Britney and less Barack.
Jim says he decided to call it a day when he believed that proposed cutbacks were suicide for the Times and would create a poorer newspaper in terms of content and revenues. The crunch came over refusal of the publisher David Hiller to allocate an extra $4m for coverage of the Presidential campaign and the Olympics.
As a first-class newspaperman, Jim didn't spare his reporters in demanding they embraced the challenges of the internet but he also knows that only quality can retain readers. He added: "Even though we face tough and demanding times and I sympathize with those who face daunting revenue challenges, I don’t believe that we will succeed long term by giving up; by taking steps that I think will gradually diminish newspapers. I decided to take my stand and say: Change the way we do things. I made that decision and I will live with the consequences. And when I walk through the Globe Lobby for the last time, I can guarantee you that I won’t regret taking that stand. I believe history will prove me right. When this industry stops relying so much on cuts and starts investing in Journalism, it will prosper because it will be serving the best interests of our readers."
Our picture from the LA Times shows Jim saying his farewells to publisher David Hiller.