earlier this week sent a companywide e-mail that contained content deemed inappropriate for the workplace, resigned on Friday, according to
The e-mail was the latest in a series of free-form jottings that Abrams sent weekly to company employees in an effort to inspire a rethinking of print and broadcast conventions. They included links to satirical video parodies of newscasts. One, which included profanity and nudity, was labeled “Sluts.”
Tribune Co. Chief Executive Randy Michaels, whose leadership of the company had been characterized as fostering a sexist “frat house” atmosphere by the New York Times just one week earlier, placed Abrams on indefinite unpaid suspension on Wednesday, pending review.
Abrams earlier issued an apology “to everyone who was offended” after some Tribune Co. employees, including Chicago Tribune Editor Gerould Kern, registered objections with the company’s human resources department.
Michaels said in announcing the suspension that the satire was “in extremely bad taste,” said sending it to every single Tribune Co. employee was “the kind of serious mistake that can’t be tolerated” and promised “to address it promptly and forcefully.”
Abrams reported directly to Michaels, a former radio executive with Jacor and Clear Channel who brought Abrams to Tribune Co. in March 2008 after a decade as chief creative officer at what was then XM Satellite Radio. Abrams, for years among the radio industry’s most influential consultants, is considered one of the founding fathers of radio research.
Championing change at Tribune Co. newspapers and broadcast outlets, Abrams repeatedly accused TV news of clinging to a late 20th century look, sound and feel. He wondered aloud whether readers knew that a newspaper dateline meant the reporter was actually writing from where the story occurred.
Abrams also advocated new and different styles of storytelling and conveying information. In Houston, where the Tribune Co. TV station has virtually no viewers to lose, he was developing an anchorless newscast.
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