Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Report: Fired L-A Times Publisher Heard It On KNX

Austin Beutner
Austin Beutner, who until Tuesday served as the publisher of The Los Angeles Times, learned that he had been fired while listening to the radio on the drive to work.

According to Politico, Jack Griffin, the CEO of Tribune Publishing, the Times' parent company, hadn't told Beutner the news at that point, several sources with knowledge of Tuesday's events said.

Though the news had been out since 3:30 a.m. Pacific Time. Instead, Beutner, who for 13 months had been making the daily commute to downtown from his home in Pacific Palisades, found out from Newsradio KNX 1070 AM.

Beutner arrived at the Times headquarters on Tuesday, calm and collected by all accounts, and held his usual morning meeting with the editors. When the meeting concluded, he was summoned to meet with Griffin. The meeting lasted no more than a few minutes. Beutner went to his office to collect his belongings and was escorted out of the building. His Times email account was deleted -- he would be forced to write his farewell to staff on Facebook -- and his access to the building revoked.

Jack Griffin
Politico reports the lack of communication between Griffin and Beutner wasn't necessarily surprising. Weeks earlier, the powerful Los Angeles philanthropist Eli Broad had approached Griffin about acquiring the California News Group, a new unit within Tribune that included the Times and the recently acquired San Diego Union-Tribune. Griffin rejected the offer, which he saw as an underhanded attempt by Beutner -- the architect of the Union-Tribune acquisition -- to take away the Tribune's grip on Southern California and turn the News Group into a private company.

On Tuesday, the Tribune announced that Baltimore Sun publisher Timothy Ryan, a longtime Tribune employee, would take over the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune papers.

Read More Now

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Beutner wrote a Facebook post hinting at the reasons for his firing.

"Cost-cutting alone is not a path to survival in the face of continued declines in print revenue and fierce competition in the digital world," Beutner wrote. "New sources of revenue will have to be developed and no single one will be the answer."

Under Beutner, the Times refocused its efforts on its local coverage and invested in new digital products. The publisher led the acquisition of the San Diego Union-Tribune for $85 million in May, solidifying Tribune as the dominant company in regional Southern California news.

No comments:

Post a Comment