Cheerleader-in-chief back in town

Times publisher David Hiller has let staffers know that he was back home for the holidays but has returned here refreshed and ready to carry out the Sam Zell agenda. Turns out Zell gets credit (or blame) for the banners hung inside the Times building that staffers have been rolling their eyes over. Hiller's email to the staff:

From: Hiller, David
Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2008 10:43 AM
Subject: Going for it in 2008

Good morning and happy new year.

I hope all of you had a happy holiday with family and friends. I was back in the wintry Midwest for the closing of the deal with Sam, and to spend a few days with my mom and other family there (thermometer didn't get much over 20 degrees!).

I hope you feel as good about Sam coming aboard as I do. He's a force of nature, and an injection of his kind of energy and confidence is a
great thing.

It was Sam's idea to put up the banners that say "You Own This Place Now." And that has been his steady theme. His point is that our future is in our hands. It's not about the past, not about Chicago or the Chandlers or anybody else. It's about US in the Los Angeles Times Media Group family, and what we make of our mission and businesses in this amazing part of the world that is Southern California.

I don't go too much for the usual New Year's resolutions practice, but this year I think it would be good to take to heart what Sam said in his first note to us on December 20 about how we act moving forward:

* We will take intelligent risks and reward innovation.
* We will tear down bureaucracy and reward entrepreneurial
spirit.
* We will compete fiercely, but with integrity.
* We will work hard and have fun.

These are good resolutions to live by. A number of you sent me emails over the holidays with suggestions and questions. There is also a Suggestion Box on TimesLink that many of you use. I welcome all these ideas, and will always answer an email and talk about some of the suggestions on my blog. And remember Sam has an email box too: talktoSam@Tribune.com.

I was glad to see many of you at our Town Hall meetings before the holidays. Our strategies and priorities we discussed are the ones we are telling Sam about. Near-term actions we will be talking more about in the next few weeks:

1. Completing 2007 year-end results
2. Finalizing budgets and action plans for 2008
3. Communicating 2008 compensation and benefit plans

We will also be planning our Employee Recognition Week activities later in February to fully recognize and celebrate accomplishments and contributions in the eventful year just passed.

I am looking forward to our coming year together.

David


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