Let Sam be Sam, but you be nice

Bad timing. As soon as I finished and posted the previous item on some LAT concerns about the reaction to Sam Zell's style, I received an email that went out to the newsroom this evening from the two managing editors and editorial HR chief Susan Denley. Their message, seems to me, is that Sam gets to do and say whatever he chooses because he owns the place. For everyone else, "nothing changes." Read the memo:

From: Arthur, John
Sent: Monday, February 11, 2008 5:21 PM
Subject: Sam and his language

Last week you may have encountered some colorful uses of the lexicon from Sam Zell that we are not used to hearing at the Times. As Sam pointed out in his "mea culpa" note to us today, he does this to make a point and in an attempt to change culture quickly. But of course we still have the same expectations at the Times of what is correct in the workplace. It's not good judgment to use profane or hostile language and we can't tolerate that. Looking at pornography on the job, unless in pursuit of a story, also is not good judgment. We need to maintain an open workplace where everyone feels free to contribute without fear of discrimination or threat of harassment. In short, nothing changes; the fundamental rules of decorum and decency apply. As Russ Newton, the Senior VP of Operations, observed in a note to his managers, Sam is a force of a nature; the rest of us are bound by the normal conventions of society.

John Arthur
Susan Denley
John Montorio

Man, that Zell archive is swelling faster than I could have imagined.


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