Zell email baffles the Times *

New owner Sam Zell apparently lit into ex-editor Jim O'Shea during this morning's talk to L.A. Times employees. If I get better reports, or the transcript — or video? — I'll pass along highlights. Even before the meeting, staffers were bemused by a folksy email sent this morning under Zell's name.

Subject: the new boss

Fellow Employees,

You may have heard me say that I will be taking an annual salary of 50 cents. Apparently, that figure was disturbing to some people. Someone on my team recently received an e-mail from an employee who was concerned that 50 cents does not divide evenly into 26 paychecks.

So, Iíve decided we should form a committee, hold a meeting, and then hire a compensation consultant to decide if my salary should be increased to 52 cents a year.

While Iím sure that falls under the cap for raises, it may be against some old policy restricting salary increases for employees with less than 12 months of tenure.

Do I need a committee, meeting and another consultant to change that policy?

Oh, thatís right, Iím in charge now. What policy?

More to comeÖ


Odds are he turns out to be clueless about how to save newspapers, but the Zell era at least looks like it will be fun to cover.

* Meeting updates, second-hand via sources: Zell explained his f-bomb directed at an employee in Orlando — she dissed him as he saw it — and said her job is safe if she is competent. There were the usual Zell share of expletives, and I'm told he drew groans in the audience with a (probably inadvertent) remark that he thought of holding a meeting about getting in the porn biz but figured no one would "come."... In explaining that it's absurd for newsrooms to block access to any website, he also joked that if anybody finds any good porn sites to let him know...He harped on the need for synergy between LAT and KTLA and seemed not to know that they do a fair amount already and have tried more in the past, to mixed results. But he thinks millions of dollars in potential value are being somehow missed...Newsroom tongues are wagging about an exchange with longtime reporter Henry Weinstein, over the KTLA issue...It was a full house in the paper's fifth floor auditorium, and many left inspired, I'm told. Zell dinged O'Shea for showing disloyalty to the company that employed him for thirty years.

Yesterday at KTLA: ERS News has a report from Zell's visit to Channel 5.

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