More arrows for Zell

Many of the journalists who departed the L.A. Times on Friday sent farewells to the newsroom. Some directed messages at Tribune owner Sam Zell. Here's the email from special projects editor Joel Sappell, who's been a reporter or editor on many big enterprise projects and for a time the executive editor of Before that he had been the senior entertainment editor in Business and a city editor.

Subject: so long

Wow, 26 years sure moved fast. I can't begin to express how much I've enjoyed sharing a career with all of you as we mastered some of the biggest stories L.A. could throw at usóriots, earthquakes, O.J., fires and on and on. The one constant amid the churn of stories has been the passion of the staff, which has allowed this place to flourish even in the most difficult times, such as now. It's been a privilege and inspiration to work alongside you.

Our new "Innovation Officer" recently used the origins of rock 'n roll to explain his vision for The Times. No offense, Lee, but I'd like to think of us more as a symphony, with each part, each note, as important as the next. And, Mr. Zell, please don't confuse arrogance with a commitment to something grander than the real estate in which we're housed or to the dollars in our ESOP. You want people to "Talk to Sam" but not to "Talkback to Sam." Perhaps that's a closer definition of arrogance.

So, with that off my chest (sort of), I'll say good-bye and good luck to you all.


More exit emails after the jump: sports writer Mike Terry, political desk researcher Nona Yates, Metro reporter James Ricci, features copy editor Cicely Wedgeworth, and Washington reporters Jonathan Peterson and Joe Mathews.

Mike Terry

Subject: I've said it before....

And I'll say it again. Shakespeare had it wrong; parting is not a sweet sorrow. Not after have such a close up look at such a dedicated group of people who continue to survive the incredible odds that keep jumping in their way.

There are too many of you to thank on my last day; you know who you are.

There are a few not to thank -- and you know who you are.

But believe me when I say what an honor and a joy it has been to work for my hometown newspaper these past 13-plus years.

I know your journey is not complete (and neither is mine).

I hope to see you all somewhere down the road.

Mike Terry

Nona Yates:

Subject: The end is near...

Well, here it is, only a few more hours till many of us walk out that door. It's been a great ride and I want to thank everyone here for all the support and kind words you've given me. I've been lucky to have had the opportunity to work with such a great group of people, both those who are here today and the long line of journalists who have gone before. The characters and stories that have come through this newsroom, you just couldn't make up a better story. I am fortunate to have been a part of it.

The value in this "product" is produced right here, in the newsroom. It's the reporters, editors, photographers, researchers, librarians, artists and all the others who bring value to this paper and make it one of the best in the country. And that's in spite of the turmoil foisted upon us for the last several years. It's not the flash, not the investment bankers, or wall street or some yahoo sitting in a corporate office. People buy and read this newspaper for the news, the content that is created and distributed each and every day in whatever medium. Anyone who thinks otherwise is an idiot and screw 'em.

I hope I will see some of you in the future. I'm headed into uncharted territory, but I think it will be great. It's been an honor and a privilege knowing you and working with you. I will always keep you with me.

James Ricci:

Subject: My turn to say...

Öfarewell. The greatest honor of my 37 years as a newspaper guy has been to be counted among you for the last twelve. That loud voice from the sidelines cheering you and the Times on will be mine.

Cicely Wedgeworth, who has also been the L.A. editor for Chowhound, but who is moving to the Bay Area.

Subject: goodbye, and good luck Iíve read many of these farewell missives (too many!) over the last several years, but itís strange to be writing one myself. Of course, as a copy editor, I have to keep this brief. So, thanks. A lot. Itís been great. Iíve learned a lot from so many of you, and Iím really grateful to have had this experience. If you want to keep in touch, Iíll be at xxxxx. If you just want to see what Iíve been eating, check out my food blog at All the best, Cicely

Jonathan Peterson:

Subject: farewell

Friends -- After 23 years with this great paper, I'll soon be setting up shop at AARP. It's just a few blocks away from the Washington bureau -- on E near 7th -- which should make it easy for my bureau mates to visit. (If anyone wants to talk about health care or Social Security, let's make a lunch out of it.)

You've been great colleagues -- some of you for a lot of years now -- generous with insights, phone numbers, sources and your own time. You set an example of unflinching professionalism, soldiering on whatever the challenges, and I admire it every single day.

Thank you, and best wishes.


Joe Mathews:

Subject: going down the road feelin'...

...well, feeling a lot of things. Not all should be shared. Words fail. Thank you to all for the last 8 years, most of them good and all of them entertaining. And special thanks to those few, those happy few, my fellow copy messengers, summer of 1991. May the library bell always flash in your memories.

I'm as amazed at the skill and dedication of the reporters, editors, photogs and super-duper librarian-researchers here as I was as an 8-year-old hanging out on the foreign copy desk on days when my mom brought me to work. You're the toughest staff employed by any publication anywhere. If there's any justice in this business, things will get better.

For the next two years, I'm going to try to figure out if the non-profit journalism world is any better. But I hope to have the privilege of working with all of you again someday.

While I'm leaving the paper, I'm also moving home to LA soon -- maybe in time to catch the Lakers in the NBA finals. Call. Write. Please.


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