Ann Marie Lipinski doesn't mention Sam Zell by name. But, well...
She is the second highest ranking newspaper editor in Zell's empire. Lipinski's note to the newsroom does mention the layoffs recently ordered there. "Professionally, this position is not the fit it once was," she writes.
Last month I wrote to say how much I valued your intelligence, professionalism and creativity and that I knew of no smarter or more inventive newsroom. Yet even in that I did not take your full measure. In recent weeks, faced with the call to reinvent your paper while reducing your ranks, you have shown new levels of commitment to your work and our readers and I could not be more grateful or awed.
For that reason and so many others, it is especially hard to tell you today that I have decided to resign. That decision was difficult and a long time coming and it would be inaccurate to attribute it to any one event. I began my editorship seven months before 9/11 and in the seven years since have become accustomed and even comfortable with editing and managing through crisis and change. But professionally, this position is not the fit it once was. Personally, my family and I believe it is time.
In earlier conversations with Scott Smith, and most recently with Bob Gremillion, I have expressed a desire to consider something new and I am grateful for the deep respect they showed me throughout those discussions. At the same time, there is much to do and your new owners should have their own editor, compatible with their style and goals, so today Bob will name my successor. He inherits a treasure in this newspaper and this staff, and I will count on you to continue to work hard on our readers’ behalf, just as you have done in the years we have been together.
I arrived here as a summer intern and many summers later my heart still skips a beat at the sight of the Tower and all it represents to this great city. Your newspaper is both a joy and a powerful engine for good. The evidence of that is too abundant to recount here, but permit me one recollection from our stewardship. Do you remember the night an innocent man walked out of death row and came to this newsroom to thank you for the journalism that had set him free? Because of you, there are many men at home with their families today who the state would have put to death, yet that is but one of your accomplishments. I can’t tell you how proud you have made me—for those stories, yes, but for the many ways you found to serve our communities, reimagine our portfolio across print and online and keep your heads above the storms. I believe in this newspaper, and know there is no better group to shape its future.
I will be here through Thursday and will look forward to talking with many of you directly. As I take my leave, it is with a fierce affection for you all, even those—and in many ways especially those—who have challenged me most. I will miss you, and not just a little.
Thank you for the honor and privilege of having served alongside you. Take care of our Tribune.
* Update: The new editor in Chicago is Gerould W. Kern, Tribune Publishing vice president of editorial since 2003 (and said by some to be a sipper of the Zell Kool-Aid.) E&P