LAT

LABJ sees turmoil at Times

The retirement of Tribune Co. executive Jack Fuller does not bode well for the comfort of occupants in the L.A. Times building, Kate Berry reports in this week's L.A. Business Journal.

Fuller, who has been a close friend of Los Angeles Times executive editor John Carroll, is being replaced by a Chicago Tribune executive, Scott Smith, who has been an ongoing rival of Times publisher John Puerner within Tribuneís corporate hierarchy.

The management shifts could take on significance given the Timesí weak advertising and circulation performance this year. Not helping is the ongoing tension between the paperís newsroom and Chicago-based Tribune, whose bean-counting culture is at odds with what has been a more free-spending climate at the Times....

Third-quarter advertising volume at the Times fell 9 percent from the year-ago period, Tribune reported last week. Ad revenues have been a troublesome area for the Times for much of the year Ė vaguely attributed to everything from the Southern California supermarket strike to high gasoline prices. What appears to be hurting the Times in particular is a drop-off in department store advertising....

"Los Angeles is still the problem," said Edward Atorino, an analyst at Fulcrum Global Partners LLC, referring to Tribune Co.ís 33 percent decline in third quarter earnings. Entertainment, retail, technology and auto remain weak ad categories, he said.

Fuller had started as a 16-year-old copy boy with the Chicago Tribune before rising through the ranks. He won a Pulitzer for editorial writing in 1986, became the publisher then took over as president of the publishing division. After the Tribune bought Times Mirror, Fuller intercepted Carroll on his way to run the Nieman Fellows program at Harvard and convinced him to become editor of the Times, then reeling from the leadership of CEO Mark Willes and the Staples Center magazine advertising fiasco.

Previously:
Times circ down a bunch
Interesting 24 hours at Tribune


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