Zell's Cubs sale a tax dodge?

Allan Sloan of Fortune Magazine, a persistent skeptic of Tribune dealings, breaks down Sam Zell's latest creative financing scheme for Marketplace: "The company is in, as you know, big trouble....What [Sam] Zell already did is bad for the company and bad for the employees." Audio

Also: On PBS' NewsHour, essayist Anne Taylor Fleming told the national audience that Zell's Los Angeles Times is no longer the paper they had heard about all these years:

So hefty for so long, the Times was the only thing going in this town, a daily must-read for many of us who lived here.

Over the past 30 or 40 years, it set out to become one of the country's premier papers, doing great reporting on stories from Washington to Vietnam and everywhere in between, all the while chronicling the transformation of L.A. into one of the planet's great thrumming cities.

And now it's going, really going. Its newsroom and number of pages have been dwindling, shrinking like so many papers....In short, the Times is putting its head down, reining in its residual ambitions, becoming an unapologetic vehicle for ads.

[skip]

I'm in its archives. So are the obituaries of my father and the recent one of my stepmother, horror scream queen Hazel Court. So are the Pulitzer Prize-winning bylines of some of my friends. The paper, in short, is all tangled up with my personal, professional, and civic memories.

Get over it. That's what I now tell myself. No point in wallowing in nostalgia.

Like many, I get an instant jolt of news the minute I log on in the morning, more and more adept at surfing the info byways of the 'net. It's fun, and quick, and tart, and, yes, maybe more unreliable than my old, faithful paper, but it's clearly the new world.

Her final zinger had to sting down at 1st and Spring: "The Los Angeles Times is just not the paper it was, and won't be again. I'm trying to be pragmatic about the loss, but some days it's just hard."

And Zell, the book: Publisher's Weekly says Portfolio bought world rights to Ben Johnson's "Sam I Am: The Inside Story of How Deal-Maven Sam Zell Is Reshaping the World's Two Largest Industries." For fall 2009.


More by Kevin Roderick:
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