Oct 4, 2009

Two for the Times

Do the top executives at Tribune Co., which owns the Los Angeles Times, deserve $66 million in retention bonuses? New York Times media critic David Carr questions the rationale for paying millions to keep the people who made the deals that thrust the company into bankruptcy:
Under questioning, Chandler Bigelow III, the chief financial officer, said the bonuses would help “incentivize our key managers to battle all of the intense challenges that unfortunately our local media businesses are facing,” according to The Associated Press. ...

But regardless of whether the bonuses have been earned or not, James Warren, a former managing editor of The Chicago Tribune, wonders how necessary they are.

“Without denying that many of these folks are toiling hard and diligently, the basic arguments underlying this request are laughable and beg at least one simple question,” he said. “How many of those that are being enriched by the bonuses have been contacted by headhunting firms seeking their talents? After what has happened there and what is going on in the broader economy, where are they going to go?”
Back here on the West Coast, Los Angeles Times television critic Robert Lloyd reviewed the PBS documentary "Inventing LA: The Chandlers & Their Times," about the family that founded the Times and helped shape the city of L.A.:
If there's a hero in the film -- albeit a flawed and ultimately failed hero -- it's Otis Chandler. Surfer, bodybuilder, bushy-haired blond Adonis, Otis, who was made publisher in 1960 at age 32, took The Times from a provincial house organ to a nationally respected newspaper. But he alienated conservative family members (and Nixon, who put him on his enemies list) along the way. And when he stepped down as publisher, he went outside the family to hire Johnson. "Otis didn't feel his children were as outstanding as he was," observes his first wife, Marilyn Brant. "Otis didn't like competition from his children."
Lloyd calls the documentary overlong and says that the filmmakers lose interest in the newspaper side of things once the Chandler's sell the company to Tribune.


Anonymous said...

The filmmakers weren't the only one's whose interest waned...after Trib bought the newspaper, their repeated attempts to run the newspaper continue to wane. I believe they are still heading down the tidy bowl.

Anonymous said...

Chandler Bigelow III??