I'm told Sam Zell just informed the Los Angeles Times Washington bureau that there's way too many people there and they should start acting like a wire service for the Tribune newspapers. Specifically, I guess he compared the staffing between Washington and Orange County and said in his world it would be reversed. Much shouting ensued. Followed, no doubt, by many calls to Dean Baquet at the NYT bureau begging to be rescued from the Zellionaire. Sadly, in that scenario it's only the good ones who go. Funny, just last week Zell admitted he didn't know crap from crapola about the L.A. Times yet. But it's all about change.
Damage control: Bureau chief Doyle McManus hastily calls a meeting.
From: McManus, Doyle
Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2008 2:25 PM
Subject: What Sam Zell meant to say
Sam Zell likes to say his role is to throw bombs and shake people up. He's a man of his word. A number of us stayed later and got some more clarification and elucidation of what he meant. Short version: It shouldn't be taken literally.
But please join me at 3:30 for a cup of strong tea in the conference room so I can tell you what I really know. Thanks
Also: Fishbowl DC notes that Zell's meeting was scheduled at the same time as a memorial for popular ex-staffer Rudy Abramson and couldn't be changed, so some ticked off staffers boycotted Sam.