O'Shea resents that remark

Los Angeles Times Editor Jim O'Shea didn't like reading a New York Times editorial suggest that the LAT has suffered "sharp reductions” in its national and foreign coverage. O'Shea sent off a letter with some edge to it:

Andrew Rosenthal
Editorial Page Editor
The New York Times

Dear Andy:

I couldn’t agree more with the sentiment in today’s editorial regarding competition in the news business. The American public always is better served by numerous voices competing against each other to get the news. There’s another worthy tradition in the news business, though, called “getting it right.” And you failed that test.

You mourn the “sharp reductions” in the Los Angeles Times national and foreign news coverage, including an “exodus” from Iraq. You are simply wrong.

We won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the deterioration of the world’s oceans and our Iraq coverage last year was the only Pulitzer finalist from the war. Our reporters won three Overseas Press Club awards for coverage of Iraq and Afghanistan, the impact of financial remittances and the oceans series. No “sharp reductions.” No “exodus.” We are fit and agile competitors. Recently, for example, the New York Times credited us for breaking stories on Sen. Fred Thompson’s ties to abortion rights groups and the revelation that White House political aides met government agencies to discuss political strategy.

None of us likes to see staff and budget cuts triggered by our industry’s struggle. Nonetheless, you hardly help things by misrepresenting the work of the Los Angeles Times and casually dismissing the work of excellent journalists from numerous news organizations who continue to risk their lives covering a war.

Sincerely,

James O’Shea
Editor
Los Angeles Times

Cc Bill Keller

The NYT editorial was about Rupert Murdoch and journalism competition.


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