Tribune reminds employees: we're loose!

Barely a week after telling Tribune newscasters to stop using 119 words and phrases, CEO Randy Michaels has sent Tribune staffers — that takes in the L.A. Times and KTLA — an email reminding everybody that he tries to be a cool boss. No strict dress code, unnecessary rules (ahem) or retaliation for speaking up. Oops—on that last one, Michaels must not know that all anyone can gossip about at the Los Angeles Times this week is the masthead editor exiled from power in part for criticizing the LATExtra experiment. (Which continues to wreak havoc with weekend sports deadlines, as boxing fans learned this past Sunday.) Or that Times employees fear the wrath of Eddy — now more than ever, I'm told — for talking to me. Or for that matter, that the refusal to link to LA Observed posts helps explain why the related links in stories are consistently lame and embarrassing to the paper.

Judging by the reader comments on the recent lizard story, readers apparently also aren't too keen on the paper's lack of basic science expertise. Especially the confusing of entomology — the study of insects — with taxonomy — the classification of plants and animals. And lumping in salamanders as reptiles.

Today's Michaels email is after the jump.

From: Tribune Communications
Sent: Wed 3/17/2010 12:xx PM
Subject: Message from Randy and Gerry/Our Culture

A little more than two years ago, we blew-up the old Tribune Employee Handbook and replaced it with a new, streamlined version designed to reflect the culture we're trying to build across the company. The new handbook is written in plain English and is less than 15 pages long.

It's also pretty basic. Rule #1 is "Use your best judgment." Rule #2 is "See Rule #1."

The point is...we don't have a lot of rules around here.

But, not everyone has gotten the message. We've heard from employees who say their business unit still has a strict dress code (we don't). Others have told us they can't hire someone because he or she might fail the new employee drug test (we don't drug test unless it's required by law or the person being hired is operating machinery, driving a truck, or handling a lot of cash). Some say they are afraid to speak up or present a wacky idea for fear of retaliation (nothing will squash creativity and innovation faster).

Rather than rules, our culture is defined by a few important principles:

· Focus on the important stuff
· Question authority
· Work together
· Take intelligent risk
· Reward performance
· Do the right thing

A copy of the employee handbook we distributed in the spring of 2008 is attached. It's also posted on TribLink (http://triblink.trb/). Our culture is evolving and you play an important role in helping shape it. We need your energy, your ideas, and your solutions-speak up! We've got to accelerate the pace of change and remove the barriers impeding it...and we can't afford to let up.

Randy and Gerry

Mocking Eddy's 'treason' obsession

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