New LAT publisher speaks

Eddy Hartenstein's email to the staff is brief. He will address all hands at 3 pm.

Good day,

As an avid reader of The Times for more than 45 years, I never dreamed that I would awake one morning to find my name at the top of the masthead. I am honored to have the opportunity to lead this venerable institution, humbled to be in the building where journalists ply their noble craft, and sober to the difficult economic realities of the newspaper business.

You will find that I manage by walking around, try to listen more than speak, make decisions quickly after hearing all sides, and am not afraid to reverse course if we happen to stumble into the cauldron of unintended consequences.

We need to continue to be many things to many people, with the utmost urgency, and without ever sacrificing our integrity. I took this job because I firmly believe that we, the women and men of the Los Angeles Times, can show the rest of the world how the Fourth Estate can not only survive, but thrive in the 21st century. Whether our journalism is delivered electronically, on, in the printed paper, or through some other medium, a vibrant newsroom is essential to our mission.

Please join me for an all-hands meeting this afternoon at 3 p.m. in the Chandler Auditorium.


So far so good. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, environment reporter Janet Wilson — who left as part of the recent sweep — sent a farewell email to the staff over the weekend that admitted to a broken heart at what's happening to the Times.

From: Wilson, Janet
Sent: Saturday, August 16, 2008 4:59 PM
Subject: So Fare Thee Well

Years ago, a New York newspaperman told me I had good legs.

"I'm not talking about your physique," he growled, explaining that "legs” in newsroom parlance meant guts, street smarts, and the unsinkable stamina to get the story before the competition did. Or words to that effect.

"A lot of reporters lose their legs after awhile," he said with a challenging glare. I vowed I never would.

My heart is utterly broken right now, no point in pretending. I love newspapers, including this one, way too much not to be appalled by what is going on. For the record, I object.

Many if not all of us are being forced out of our identities, out of the way of life we have chafed at and cursed, clung to and loved. But I firmly believe people still want the moral compass that journalists at their best provide. In other words, truth, justice and the exclusive quote.

Thanks to all of you who have offered encouragement, wisdom and help. The lessons I’ve learned from all this are to reach out to each other, and to make sure you stand up for yourself. And that, despite recent events, my legs feel quite strong. May yours too, dear colleagues.

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