Under pressure to extract more budget savings by further cutting the staff, Los Angeles Times editor Dean Baquet admits in the paper today to a "difference of opinion" with his Chicago bosses. He's getting support from civic leaders such as former Secretary of State Warren Christopher, labor leader Maria Elena Durazo, police commission president John Mack and USC Annenberg dean Geoffrey Cowan. They and sixteen others signed a letter to Baquet's corporate bosses urging that no more cuts be taken out of the LAT's hide, writing that Los Angeles needs "more — not less — news coverage, particularly of the civic, political and cultural life of the region."
The L.A. region is more spread out and diverse, and the Times more irreplaceable, than realized by "those outside our community," they write. [Little zinger at the white-bread suits in Chicago?] If the Tribune isn't up to the challenge of publishing a top paper in Los Angeles, they suggest a change in ownership.
We strongly urge the Tribune company to make an even larger investment in the Times and to resist the financial pressures to make cuts that would harm the paper and, in the process, harm our region....[If this is not feasible] perhaps a different mode of ownership would better serve Los Angeles.
Absent from the signature block are Eli Broad, David Geffen and Ron Burkle, the moguls who have made inquiries about buying the Times. This seems like a good place to, ahem, point out that the best way to deepen and sharpen reporting on the civic, political and cultural life of the region might be for these leaders to make strategic investments in newer, more nimble and financially efficient forms of journalism. I know a certain growth-oriented blog.