Steve Wasserman has contributed a thoughtful and detailed essay to Robert Scheer's website Truthdig.com in which he looks at the woes facing his alma mater the Los Angeles Times. The gist - to simplify it inelegantly - is that the Tribune boys are in over their heads.
None of this should surprise. After all, the men who control the paper’s fiscal destiny have never shown any particular commitment to Los Angeles, regarding it with all the unbridled avariciousness and ill-concealed contempt that Cortez displayed toward Montezuma and his benighted Aztecs. As a former high official of the paper recently told me, “You’ve no idea how fast these folks are strip-mining the place. They’ve already carted away millions of dollars. Their efforts to attract advertising and grow the business have come to nothing. They’re Midwestern white men obsessed with only two things: the Chicago Cubs and accounting. They care nothing for journalism. They are Philistines.”
When told of this judgment, Jim Squires said, “Philistines is perfect characterization for that crowd, only the Philistines as a group were smarter. You cannot imagine how intellectually inferior three of the last four chairman of Tribune Co. were.” He compared them to George Bush, remarking that they were “complete frauds as leaders and executives.” “Chicago,” he said, “is a street-smart town. Cops, crooks, restaurateurs, developers, writers—they are bold and wily. The business executives, on the other hand, are weak and moronic.”
Actually, this is the juiciest bit but there's quite a lot about the makeup of L.A. and the history of the paper that are worth your while if you care about whether this city has the newspaper it deserves.