Skewering the L.A. Daily Journal

Alan Mittelstaedt resigned last month as an editor at the Los Angeles Daily Journal. I hadn't seen him express his thoughts about the legal daily — until now. In response to a young reporter quitting, Mittelstaedt posted a comment at the blog of Warren Olney producer Gary Scott, himself a former Daily Journal reporter. New editor David Houston is the main target.

I can't remain silent any longer....Why is such a talent as Noah [Barron] packing his bags?

I urge the paper's top management to do some soul-searching -- and go online today to enroll in an intensive management training course at Poynter or somewhere else. Learn the basic rules of civility and leadership that inspires.

In the meantime, start treating every writer with respect. Stop screaming, and start listening. Stop writing reporters up for minor mistakes, and start sending notes of thanks. Offer constructive criticism, not personal attacks. (By the way, such attacks are lawsuit bait.)

As I told David Houston in one of our final meetings, I have never witnessed a supervisor with a more demeaning, abusive style in my 29 years in this business. (And I've encountered some contenders in my day.) I couldn't tolerate or condone his Pleistocene-era style and left the paper at the end of the year.

On the other hand, I recently got email from within the DJ newsroom suggesting that Houston's heavier hand is needed and helping. But that was before Barron left.

More Mittelstaedt: Sitting in at Witness LA, he pines for a local online news site that would display more outrage and advocacy. He also corrects some facts in today's CityBeat piece about LA Weekly — both of them places where he was a key editor.

More by Kevin Roderick:
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